Use of False Passport Yet Still Granted Australian Citizenship
Despite the fact that the Applicant came to Australia using a false passport and had conducted minor offences in Australia, the Tribunal was of the view that the Applicant was a person of good character.
What Occurred in the Case of Gjergji
Mr Gjergji (‘the Applicant’) illegally entered into Italy when he was 16-years-old. He was granted a Protection Visa because he thought he would be targeted in Italy by the members of Ndokaj family who had a bold feud with the Applicant’s family. In 2011, the Applicant arrived in Australia using a fraudulently-obtained Czech passport. He then applied for a Protection Visa using his true name and the visa was granted.
In 2013, the Applicant was charged with Cultivate Cannabis Plant – Artificially Enhanced Cultivation and Possess Prescribed Equipment. Although there were no recorded convictions, he was fined $400 and $300 for each of the charges respectively.
In 2016, the Applicant had applied for Australian citizenship, but the Delegate refused his citizenship application because the delegate was not satisfied that Mr Gjergji was of good character for the purposes of s 21(2)(h) of the Australian Citizenship Act 2007 (‘the Act’). Subsequently, the Applicant sought a review to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) to review the delegate’s decision.
For the purposes of the current application, s 21(2)(h) of the Act relevantly provides:
(2) A person is eligible to become an Australian citizen if the Minister is satisfied that the person...
(h) is of good character at the time of the Minister's decision on the application.
Tribunal ’s Consideration When Deciding on Whether to Remit Mr Gjergji’s Australian Citizenship Application
When reviewing the case, the Tribunal considered that although Mr Gjergji misled the Australian government by showing a false passport on his entry into Australia, he was a refugee who came directly from a place where his life or freedom was threatened and therefore had showed a good cause for his illegal entry and disclosed the use of his false passport immediately. Thus, the Tribunal did not consider Mr Gjergji’s use of a false passport demonstrated dishonesty.
With respect to the criminal history, the Tribunal pointed out that because offences did not cause any convictions or sentences, it was regarded as minor offences. Although the applicant’s actions were not consistent with Australian values, Mr Gjergji took responsibility and was remorseful for his conduct. Thus, the Tribunal accepted that the Applicant had made a conscious effort to uphold and comply with Australian laws.
Apart from that, Mr Gjergji also had character references made via a statutory declaration to show the Applicant was a hard-working, diligent person who seriously took his obligations as a resident, an employee and a taxpayer. Since the referee had a good appreciation of circumstances of the Applicant’s past and ongoing experience, the Tribunal decided to give more weight to this statutory declaration.
The Tribunal accepted the Applicant is honest in his dealings with the Australian government despite the use of a false passport and that he is financially responsible, is respected and well-liked in his community. In a nutshell, the Tribunal was of the view that the Applicant is a person of good character.
How Can We Help You
If you have entered into Australia by using false passport, make sure to report to the government without delay. If you also have committed minor offences before, and you want to apply for an Australian Citizenship, please contact us immediately, so that we can advise you properly on the purpose of your case.
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