Character Requirements

All potential migrants to Australia under the Skilled Migration route, or temporary migrants on a working holiday, must have their character assessed as part of the visa grant process. Applicants must declare it if they have a criminal record, however minor and regardless of how long ago they incurred it.

The onus is on the applicant to prove they are of good character, an applicant can fail the test if:  

  • they have a substantial criminal record;
  • they have, or have had, an association with an individual, group or organisation suspected of having been, or being, involved in criminal conduct;
  • having regard to the person's past and present criminal conduct, the person is found not to be of good character, and;
  • having regard to the person's past and present general conduct, the person is found to be not of good character;
  • there is a significant risk that the person will engage in criminal conduct in Australia, harass, molest, intimidate or stalk another person in Australia, vilify a segment of the Australian community, or incite discord in the Australian community or in a segment of that community, or represent a danger to the Australian community or a segment of that community.

Substantial Criminal Record

For the purposes of migration to Australia under the Skilled Migration route, a person is deemed to have a substantial criminal record if they have been:

  • sentenced to either death or life imprisonment
  • sentenced to a term of imprisonment for 12 months or more
  • sentenced to two or more terms of imprisonment (whether on one or more occasions), where the total of those terms is two years or more
  • acquitted of an offence on the grounds of either unsoundness of mind or insanity and, as a result, the person has been detained in a facility or institution.

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