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11th January 2012
Volume 208

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In This Issue
DIAC`s New Terror Tactics
The Abuse of PIC 4020
Dear students, 


Welcome to the first edition of IMMIGRATION NEWS for 2012 and to the new subscribers. This free service is brought to you by Australian Immigration Law Services. You can subscribe by using the link on the right hand side or by visiting our web site. Please feel free to forward this email to any of your friends.
Unfortunately we need to cover a story we`d much rather not but it is a story that needs to be told. DIAC is now shifting to a new regime of terror tactics when dealing with GSM applicants. This is also being combined with an abuse of the new Schedule 4020 Public Interest Criteria (PIC) where case officers are using it as a weapon of choice where applicants are considered guilty until they are convinced otherwise. Many GSM applicants are now finding their applications rejected using this section of the PIC. 
DIAC`s New Terror Tactics
Mr and Mrs Singh
Mr and Mrs Singh felt terrorised by DIAC`s lies


Mr Singh and his wife has recently found themselves the victim of DIACs new terror tactics upon international students. A case officer knowingly sent Mr Sing false and misleading information in an effort to scare and intimidate him by sending him a reference to a web site that claimed voluntary work experience was illegal.


This is the site DIAC sent to Mr. Singh in an email;



The case officer was well aware that it was not illegal for Mr Singh to do his 900 hours work experience as a cook on voluntary basis yet he sent him this information anyway. The 900 hours of work experience, voluntary or paid, is a requirement from Trades Recognition Australia TRA to pass the skill assessment for migration purposes. Mr Singh completed his 900 ours of voluntary work back in 2009.


So why was this information sent to Mr Singh? Urgent inquiries were sent to one of the top line GSM managers to discover if this was a new policy direction in the processing of GSM files, to declare all voluntary work experience illegal and then reject applicants under the character provision 4020?


The reply came back


"I can assure you there has never been a view that this applicant or any other would fail to satisfy PIC 4020 on the basis that the claimed 900 hours work experience used for their TRA assessment apparently breached NSW industrial legislation."

Well then why was the information sent to Mr Singh? Was it a new policy approach by DIAC to scare and intimidate applicants? This question was raised and received the following response;


"I consider section 56 provides a delegate with the power to seek any information they consider relevant (except where elsewhere limited by legislation), there is no requirement that they justify a request to an applicant although the applicant is not compelled to provide the information sought.  


I consider there will be circumstances where a delegate may point out to  a client  information not of direct relevance, in order to hopefully elicit a truthful response."

What this means is that DIAC can send you any information that has nothing to do with your file hoping this will scare you into saying something. Hmmmm.


I suppose DIAC would also send refugee applicants from Afghanistan emails containing web sites links to Taliban propaganda in order to get truthful responses from them? You can see then the problem with such an approach.


 Mr Singh was horrified to learn that the terror tactics used against him were not only condoned by Mr. the direct manager of the case officer at the ASPC but also by one of the most senior managers at the ASPC. "I thought it was disgusting that a government department would send me information that was so obviously false in relation to my application in some kind of perverted effort to gain a response from me induced by trying to scare me that I had done the wrong thing, when I hadn't. I was surprised to learn that the government behaves in this kind of fashion" Mr Singh stated.


Complaints have now been lodged with the Commonwealth Ombudsman to ensure this standard of processing using terror tactics does not continue.


If readers have any similar stories then please let us know.


The Abuse of PIC 4020
Many international students will have their lives ruined by dubious 4020 decisions



Last year we discussed the introduction of Section 4020 in the Public Interest criteria and viewed it as a positive tool in the fight against applicants who provide bogus documents to DIAC in their GSM applications. Our office has always promoted the issue that Australia has no tolerance for applicants who wish to revert to criminal activity to gain their visas.


DIAC has now made significant steps since being embarrassed into action regarding document fraud in the visa process, in particular, the trade applications. We made it quite clear in the interview conducted by 4 Corners that DIAC stood by and did nothing while corrupt applications were approved on mass.


When the PIC 4020 was introduced last year we praised it as a positive proactive step forward by DIAC. Although discussed in our office, we did not cover the possible abuses in how the law could be interpreted by case officers. It was assumed DIAC would take a mature and responsible approach by giving applicants the benefit of the doubt when the evidence was not conclusive


How wrong we were in this assumption.


Section 4020 of the PIC is now becoming the number one tool of abuse of power for DIAC case officers. Where DIAC fails to conduct competent investigations it now relies upon subjective opinion that false or misleading information was supplied in an application. In other words it has given them the power to reject on baseless allegations rather than factual evidence.


For those of you who missed our previous newsletter, PIC 4020 states;


There is no evidence before the Minister that the applicant has given, or caused to be given, to the Minister, an officer, the Migration Review Tribunal, a relevant assessing authority or a Medical Officer of the Commonwealth, a bogus document or information that is false or misleading in a material particular in relation to:


(a)     the application for the visa; or


(b)     a visa that the applicant held in the period of 12 months before the application was made.



To reject an applicant on failing the PIC 4020 provision there just needs to be one piece of evidence no matter its truthfulness, to reject the file.

In relation to information that is "false or misleading in a material particular", this can mean if you make a mistake in putting the wrong date of birth for your Father , for example, this would be enough to have your file rejected.


DIAC guidelines outline how easy it is for case officers to reject files;


Clearly, false/misleading information as defined in PIC 4020 is a form of 'incorrect information' as described and dealt with in the Migration Act:


Section 99

All visa applicants, regardless of which visa subclass they are applying for, to complete their visa application in such a way that all questions in the visa application form are answered and no incorrect answers are given or provided.


Section 104

If circumstances change so that an answer to a question is incorrect in the new circumstances, the applicant must as soon as practicable inform the department in writing of the new circumstances and of the correct answer in those circumstances. (The event that triggers the operation of s104(1) is the change in circumstances.)


Section 105

If an incorrect answer is given, the applicant must as soon as practicable notify the department in writing of the incorrectness and of the correct answer. (The event that triggers the operation of s105(1) is the applicant becoming aware of the incorrectness of the answer or information.)

Under policy, applicants may notify the department in writing by completing the form 1022 (Change of circumstances) that is used for s104 purposes.


Section 100

An (incorrect) answer to a question is incorrect even if the applicant did not know that it was incorrect.


Section 106

The applicant's legal obligation to comply with s101 (and s105) is not affected by the fact that the department might have that information.


Section 234(1)(b)

Making a statement that is false or misleading in a material particular is an offence under the Act. 


It doesn`t matter if you are aware of the error made or not, it can still be considered as false of misleading.


In other words a DIAC staff member or some member of the public only has to make some accusation against an applicant and this can be qualify as evidence, no matter how unsubstantiated, poorly prepared or ridiculous that allegation is. This can then be used by a case officer to justify a rejection.


It seems lately that it doesn't matter about the facts surrounding the allegation, once the case officer doesn`t like you and doesn`t believe you, then your position is hopeless. 


Once applicants find themselves rejected under 4020 they can appeal to the MRT (if appeal rights exist) and then it will then fall upon the tribunal member to assess if you are telling the truth. Again if they don't like you or believe you then your case can fail.


Migration Alliance which has thousands of professional Migration Agents as members is also aware of the growing pattern of abuse of the 4020 PIC to reject applicants. Christopher Livingston from Migration Alliance had this to say about PIC 4020;


"There is  evidence building  that with increasing frequency DIAC prefers to use PIC4020 as a means to the end of visa refusal. Absent any evidence, in a legal sense, the resort to PIC 4020 in effect permits DIAC to refuse a visa based on an allegation of misconduct.   This approach permits the making of unsubstantiated allegations and an attempt to shift the onus of proof without the traditional controls associated with allegations associated with "bogus documents" and false and misleading statements.

The whole notion of "materiality" seems secondary to the desire to refuse on any basis as opposed to a proper and genuine consideration" of a case on its merits."



Two Examples of recent rejections using 4020


Two recent cases have come to our attention where 485 applicants have been rejected by DIAC using the 4020 provision. They both involve applicants who have nominated trade occupations, one as a Cook and one as a Hairdresser.


In both of these cases DIAC visited the work place some years after the visa applicants worked there and showed the owners copies of the applicants passport page however the owners could not be confidently identify the applicants from the photo presented to them. In both cases the passport photo was quite old and the applicant had significantly changed in appearance.


In an opportunity to respond before a rejection decision was made on PIC 4020 grounds, DIAC then put this information to the applicants.


In both cases the applicants went and spoke to their previous employers who then apologized for not recognizing the old passport photos DIAC showed them. Both employers then wrote letters saying they had recently met their old staff and could now with confidence confirm their identities as having worked in their jobs. Both business owners pointed out to DIAC that it was more that 2 years had passed since they had seen these workers and the photos shown by the DIAC officers were seemingly quite old.


This information was supplied to both separate case officers but both of them refused to give weight to the owners statement and rejected the files anyway saying they had reasonable grounds to believe false and misleading information had been supplied. In other words they were not really interested in the responses for they had already made up their minds of the outcome and giving the applicant the opportunity to respond was just procedure.


Both files have now been lodged to the Migration Review Tribunal where the applicants will have to wait another 18-24 months before a decision can be made.



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Kind regards,

Karl Konrad: Managing Director and

Jee Eun HAN, Executive Manager     

Australian Immigration Law Services

MARN: 9904238, 0850073 

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In November last year I gave a guest lecture to the Masters students studying at the University of Woolongong Faculty of Law, Centre for Transnational Crime Prevention. Many of the students were serving police officers from around the country and investigators from a number of state anti corruption bodies.


I was asked what I thought about the notion of Noble Cause Corruption within the police force. Noble cause corruption is where police officers violate legal or ethical standards in pursuit of what they perceive to be the benefit of society at large.


The answer was simple. When public officers act in such a manner they may do so with the best intentions but it undermines they whole integrity of the criminal justice system. This creates a far worse problem where police ultimately loose their reputations for being honest. Police are not in the position of deciding who is guilty of a crime, that is what the rest of the criminal justice system is for, the courts.


There is a very good reason police do not have the power to determine who is guilty and who is not guilty for they are often strongly emotionally influenced by the victims of crime and can jump to conclusions before all the facts come to light.


There are enough examples now to see that the powers PIC 4020 gives to DIAC case officers is too great.


Case officers now have the ability to formulate a judgment of guilt upon an applicant having never met them and on the most circumstantial evidence or baseless allegations. Even when evidence is presented to them on behalf of the accused, it is ignored and given no weight and the visa rejected. In most cases the evidence presented on their behalf is much stronger on balance than the original accusation.


As Christopher Livingston from Migration Alliance put it well, "This approach permits the making of unsubstantiated allegations and an attempt to shift the onus of proof without the traditional controls associated with allegations associated with "bogus documents" and false and misleading statements."


It is up to the case officer to decide if they believe the information before them and this is where noble cause corruption can creep in and make a home at DIAC.


The use of terror tactics against applicants already demonstrates that case officers loosing their integrity where they think such tactics are justified. Again this is noble cause corruption at work.


Case officers are risking the integrity of the whole migration system where their own actions are not so dissimilar to the applicants they are attempting to reject.


Threats and intimidation are taking the place of competent investigations for it is far easier to send an email to intimidate someone rather than dig for more detailed information.


Readers may notice that I do not criticise DIAC managers by name in the public media and this is for a good reason. Firstly, they are after all just public servants carrying out departmental policy which is dictated by whatever government is in power at the time. Secondly, when people get rejected for visas there can be a powerful emotive response and it is best not to paint targets on people who are just doing their jobs.



Karl Konrad

Managing Director 

Karl Konrad




Han Photo with Jacket

 Executive Manager

Jee Eun HAN


Australian Immigration Law Services  

phone: 61 2 92791991 | fax: 61 2 9279 1994
email: | website: 


 Level 13, 37 York Street Sydney NSW 2000

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