Declaring Criminal Convictions – What about those fines?
It is crucial to be truthful in all communications with the Department of Home Affairs regarding previous criminal convictions. If you are not truthful, the Department of Home Affairs may refuse your visa application and may also ban you and your immediate family members from making future applications for 3 years.
Fines count as convictions
Through our experience at AHWC Immigration Law, we have found that many clients are under the impression that fines do not count as criminal convictions or offences, particularly when they have paid the fine in full. However, generally speaking, the only fines that are truly not criminal convictions are simple traffic offences such as low-level speeding, parking fines etc.
Please note, a fine becomes a criminal conviction even when it has been handed down by a court “without conviction”. You must declare these as criminal convictions as they will appear on your criminal record.
The effect on your Permanent Residency
An applicant for Permanent Residency, who has failed to adequately disclose criminal convictions on previous applications for temporary visas, is faced with a problem.
An example of this is an individual who applied for a Working Holiday visa, followed by a Subclass 457 visa (before police checks were required as standard), but failed to declare court fines that they acquired. The individual then applies for permanent residency and they are asked to produce police certificates from every country in which they have resided for 12 months or more since the age of 16. The court fines that they have failed to declare become evident and their chances of obtaining permanent residency in Australia are compromised.
Declaring minor criminal convictions should not affect your visa application
In most cases, having minor criminal convictions such as fines can be effectively managed with a legal submission and a Statutory Declaration. Our Migration Agents and Lawyers at AHWC Immigration Law are experienced in such circumstances and can assist you if you do so require.
Understand what needs to be disclosed
The most important thing to remember is that you must think carefully about the questions that require you to disclose information about your criminal history. If you have ever been summoned to court, appeared in court and charged with any offence, or fined by a judge or magistrate, these instances should be declared.
If you are unsure about what you need to disclose, get in touch with a registered migration agent who will ensure all relevant convictions are disclosed and give you the best possible chance of your visa being granted.
Making Declarations on your Incoming Passenger Cards
You must also disclose any previous criminal convictions on your Incoming Passenger Cards when you enter Australia. The Department of Home Affairs saves data collected from your Incoming Passenger Cards to compare to disclosures of criminal convictions made in future visa applications.
If you have any questions about the issues raised above, please don’t hesitate to call us on 1300 887 818 or make an enquiry today.