09 June 2008

Character test for Australian visa applicants 'should be changed'

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A character test that has led to 250 people not getting an Australian visa should be amended to make the system fairer, according to the Australian Institute (AI). The Federal Government has been urged to change the test after 68 visas have been cancelled in this financial year because of it, reports the Age.

Under Australian immigration rules any non-citizen applying for a visa to Australia must take the character test to determine that applicants are of "acceptable character".
The AI has yet to release its report on the subject, but told the newspaper: "The criteria for what makes a non-citizen considered to be of bad character is too wide, too fuzzy and is not compliant with international human rights standards."

Susan Harris Rimmer, the Institute's Acting Director, said character testing should still be in place, but the current system is not working well and is "not very fair". Australian visa applicants who do not pass the character test have a substantial criminal record, an association with someone suspected to be a criminal or they may represent a danger to Australian society.

Australia needs skilled workers: Anyone applying for an Australian visa should begin by completing the Australian Visa Bureau's online Australian visa application to see if they meet the Australian visa requirements.

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