Deadly Obstacle Arising From Public Interest Criteria 4020

 PIC 4020 enables a refusal of a visa if an applicant provides a bogus document or information that is false or misleading in relation to any of their previous or current visa applications.

Unfortunately, sometimes it can also incur deadly consequences for those who accidentally or mistakenly provides a wrong information on their visa application. In the case of Ashiq v Minister for Immigration& Anor [2] where the applicant, a citizen of Pakistan, signed his student visa application prepared by his education consultant without properly reading through the pre-filled responses in the application.

First Student Visa Application

In the first student visa application form, there was a question that asked, “Have you, or any member of your family unit included in this application, ever…served in a military force or state sponsored/private militia, undergone any military/paramilitary training, or been trained in weapons/explosive use?

The education consultant had put down the response as “No” to the question in the application.

Second Student Visa Application

The applicant then subsequently applied for a second student visa by himself and had put down his answer as “Yes” to the same question. He stated on the application form that he had undergone military training or service in Pakistan as an aviation cadet at the Pakistan Air Force Academy.

The Department found this to be an adverse information and asked the applicant to comment on the following:

In your previous student visa application, you indicated that you had never served in the Military Force of your country. Furthermore, you did not mention your time at the Pakistan Air Force Academy. As it has come to light that you were terminated from the Academy for disciplinary reasons, and that such circumstances are relevant in considering whether you meet the criteria for the grant of a visa, your omission is considered to be unfavorable to your current application as you provided misleading information for an application for a visa you held in the 12 months previous to your current visa application.

No response was received from the applicant.

The Department subsequently refused his second student visa application on the basis of failing to satisfy PIC 4020


Tribunal’s Decision on the PIC 4020

The visa applicant subentry appealed the refusal decision to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (‘Tribunal’). The Tribunal referred to Trivedi v Minister for Immigration and Border Protection[3] as authority for their decision and indicated that they were “not satisfied that inadvertence, negligence or simple accident explained the inclusion of the untrue information in the applicant’s original visa application”.

In conclusion, the Tribunal found the information in the original visa application form was false or misleading, presumably, it said, because of the actions of the consultant in Pakistan.


PIC 4020 Key Takeaways

Clearly, the failure to satisfy PIC 4020 can be proven to be disastrous even if an applicant does not have any involvement in the preparation of the visa application. In this case, the applicant tried to put forward the following compelling reasons requesting the Tribunal to consider, however the Tribunal still decided to uphold the decision of the Department:

  •  his young age at the time the application was made;

  • that his parents made all the arrangements for his initial travel to Australia through an education consultant;

  • that he signed the form without reading it by blindly trusting his parents and the education agent; and

  • that he himself was not aware that the information that had been provided in the first application was false and misleading.


Moral of the case: You cannot simply rely on an gent to prepare an application and then sign and submit it to the Department without checking it for accuracy. In doing so, you put yourself at risk of having PIC 4020 coming into effect to haunt you!


How Can We Help You?

At Agape Henry Crux, we have a three-point-check system for our pre-lodgment compliance procedure in order to ensure that the application we are submitting is valid and correct. Our lawyers are highly-trained and meticulous in the preparation of visa applications so in order to avoid being ensnared by PIC 4020, simply call one of our immigration lawyers at Agape Henry Crux on 02-72002700 or email us to book in a time at

We also speak fluent English, Mandarin, Cantonese, Indonesian, Spanish and Malay. If these aren’t your language, we can also help you arrange an interpreter.


[1] Department of Home Affairs

[2] (2018) FCCA 544 (7 March 2018)

[3] [2014] FCAFC 42; (2014) 220 FCR 169, FCAFC 42

[4] Above n 2.