AAT Case: Bogus Documents Not a Show-Stopper for Citizenship Application
Alsaad and Minister for Immigration and Border Protection (Citizenship) concerns a refusal of an Australian citizenship application on the basis that the applicant provided a bogus document, and therefore is not of a ‘good character’.
However, the Tribunal sets aside this decision and remits it back to the Department for reconsideration….
Department’s Assessment of ‘Good Character’
In assessing the applicant’s good character, the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) considered the applicant’s previous Prospective Marriage visa decision record and the National Police Checking Service check results and gathered the following findings:
· that the applicant had previously provided non-genuine documents to the Department relating to her identity documents;
· the husband’s name is different on the applicant card and marriage contract to that of his identity documents
The applicant had relied on others to obtain her primary identity documents such as her National ID Card, and it was only subsequent to the refusal of her Prospective Marriage visa application, that the applicant’s husband became aware that his uncle’s friend may have forged the applicant’s national ID card.
Meaning of ‘Good Character’
As per Chapter 11 of Australian Citizenship Policy guidelines:
“…the words ‘good character’ should be taken to be used in their ordinary sense, namely, a reference to the enduring moral qualities of a person, and not the good standing, fame or repute of that person in the community. The former is an objective assessment apt to be proved as a fact whilst the latter is a review of subjective public opinion... A person who has been convicted of a serious crime and thereafter held in contempt in the community, nonetheless, may show that he or she has reformed and is of good character... Conversely, a person of good repute may be shown by objective assessment to be a person of bad character.
Issue: Therefore, the main issue is whether the applicant was (at the time the Minister decided to refuse the Applicant’s Australian citizenship application) a person of good character?
Tribunal’s Consideration of Whether the Applicant is of Good Character to be Considered an Australian Citizen
· the Applicant at the time of the first visa application was a young 19-year-old in Iraq, who relied on the advice of her husband and her husband’s uncle to progress a visa application to come to Australia. It is not unusual given the cultural context of middle eastern society for young women to follow the advice of their husband and senior male members of their family;
· the first visa application was made nearly 10 years ago. Since then the Applicant has lived in Australia for almost 9 years without any negative interactions with the law or criminal justice system which might convince the Tribunal that she had a pattern of behaviour of using deception or fraud.
· When the Applicant was asked by the Tribunal why she believed she would make a good Australian citizen, her answer was she wanted to be a citizen for her children and husband.
· Whilst recognizing the seriousness of the consequences of providing bogus documents to Australian authorities, the Tribunal has no evidence before it to suggest that the Applicant in Australia has continued a pattern of deceptive or fraudulent behavior.
· The Tribunal found the applicant to be a truthful person, and therefore a person of good character.
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  AATA 114 (8 February 2019)