PIC 4020

Public Interest Criterion 4020 (PIC 4020)

What is the Public Interest Criterion 4020?

Public Interest Criterion (PIC) 4020 allows the Minister to refuse a visa if:

PIC 4020 extends to circumstances where an applicant or a family member of the applicant was previously refused a visa due to their failure to satisfy PIC 4020.

Once the visa is refused for failing to satisfy PIC 4020, the applicant would be subject to three (3) year non-grant periods or ten (10) year non-grant periods for future visa applications.

What is considered a bogus document?

Section 5(1) of the Migration Act 1958 (Cth) (‘Act’) defines a bogus document as document that the Minister reasonably suspects is a document that:

  • Purports to have been, but was not, issued in respect of the person;
    e.g. a document belonging to another person that is presented to the department by the visa applicant as their own

  • Is counterfeit or has been altered by a person who does not have authority to do so;
    e.g. digitally altered photos to support claims of relationship or identity, passports or identity cards that have been altered

  • Was obtained because of a false or misleading statement, whether or not made knowingly.
    e.g. an English language test result that was achieved by an imposter.

PIC 4020 is extremely serious and we urge you to seek assistance from a RMA urgently. We have two Accredited Specialists in Immigration Law and a team of Immigration Lawyers and Agents on standby. Please contact our team for assistance.

What is considered a false or misleading information?

PIC 4020(5) defines ‘information that is false or misleading in a material particular’ to mean information that is:

  • False or misleading at the time it is given, and

  • Relevant to any of the criteria considered when making a decision on an application, whether or not the decision is made because of that information.

Examples of false or misleading information:

  • False or inaccurate statements or information in a document, application, or declaration

  • A false or misleading employment reference in support of an applicant’s work experience claims

  • False or misleading information about a secondary and/or non-migrating dependant’s relationship to the primary applicant

  • A mistake made by others is not a defence for defeating PIC 4020, even if the mistakes are made by a Migration Agent.

Consequences of PIC 4020

  • If your visa application was unsuccessful because you did not meet PIC 4020, you will be barred from applying for any other visas in Australia for at least three(3) years.

  • Your family members, including those that are not migrating will similarly be barred for no less than 3 years from Australia.

  • Any Australian visas you may hold in future (including permanent residency), will perpetually be subject to visa cancellation as the pecuniary effects are contemporaneous. This leads to deportation from Australia.

  • Generally, criminal prosecution will follow. This offence carries a maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment (section 234 of Migration Act).

We have two Accredited Specialists in Immigration Law and a team of immigration lawyers and migration agents on standby ready to assist you with your PIC 4020 situation. Please contact our team for assistance.

Can PIC 4020 be waived?

PIC 4020 may be waived if the applicant can establish compelling or compassionate circumstances. Whether there are compelling or compassionate circumstances will depend on the circumstances of the individual case.

The Minister may consider that there exist compelling or compassionate circumstances if:

  • The person could contribute to Australia business, economic, cultural or other development if the person was not granted the visa

  • There is a minor child who is an Australian citizen, permanent resident or eligible New Zealand citizen residing in Australia who would be adversely affected by a decision not to waive

  • The applicant’s country of residence is a war zone or the sponsor has been found to be a person to whom Australia owes protection obligations

There is no waiver available for the applicant who does not meet the identity requirement.

Don’t wait before it is too late. PIC 4020 is extremely serious and can lead to major consequences. Our experienced team of immigration lawyers and agents are ready to assist you. Contact our team today!

Our experience in meeting PIC 4020

Below is an example of one of the PIC 4020 case that we assisted our client which we found quite interesting:

The applicant had lodged a Student visa in February 2019 and received a Natural Justice letter in March 2019. The Department claimed that the applicant had provided misleading information by failing to declare previous visa refusal in the Student visa application. Hence, the Department raised PIC 4020 concerns.

How did we approach the PIC 4020 issue?

We prepared a submission by addressing that:

  • The applicant has disclosed her previous visa refusal by lodging Notification of Incorrect Answer Form, so she had no intention to mislead the Department in her visa application

  • There are compelling and compassionate circumstances as the applicant has always complied with her previous student visa conditions by regularly attending to classes and lectures and performing in her studies  


For this reason, the delegate has made an incorrect finding. The applicant’s Student visa was successfully granted. See Lifting the 10 year bar (PIC 4020) with no waiver testimonial.

See more testimonials from our clients who we assisted with PIC 4020 below.

Client Testimonials

….we call it Support Network

As navigating through the immigration law process may be difficult, our former clients have agreed to share their experiences through telephone chats, emails and meeting in person.

These are their stories…

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Accredited Specialists in Immigration Law

Our firm is spearheaded by two (2) Accredited Specialists in Immigration Law (out of 97 in Australia). Accredited Specialists generally comprise of university law professors, presidents of legal associations, authors for immigration law publications, etc. They are tasked to teach other legal practitioners and are commonly referred as “the lawyer’s lawyer”. Specialist Accreditation Chair, Richard Harvey of the Law Society, said:


“Specialist Accreditation is held by less than 6% of the profession here in New South Wales. We are proud that Specialists Accreditation is such a rigorous process and getting accredited is just the start. When a specialist retains their accreditation year on year their clients know the value of the advice they receive.” (Law Society Journal)


This is the highest recognition bestowed on a solicitor by the Australian Law Society. Registered Migration Agents and lawyers regard them as the best in the world (Australian Financial Review).


A number of fellow Accredited Specialists progressed to be judges of superior courts:

His Honour Judge Anthony Dilon Morley (Federal Circuit Court of Australia), our founder and Head of Strategy, Jason Ling graduated from Bond University, which gave birth to 3 of Australia’s 97 Accredited Specialists in Immigration Law in the year 2018.

Our Team Leaders

Kris Ahn l Accredited Specialist (Immigration Law) l Notary Public l Migration Director l MARN 1171577

Kris Ahn l Accredited Specialist (Immigration Law) l Notary Public l Migration Director l MARN 1171577

Davin Hartanto l   Practice Group Leader l MARN: 1577740

Davin Hartanto l Practice Group Leader l MARN: 1577740

Jason Ling l Accredited Specialist (Immigration Law) l MARN: 0849827 | Strategy Officer    (Photo coming soon…)

Jason Ling l Accredited Specialist (Immigration Law) l MARN: 0849827 | Strategy Officer

(Photo coming soon…)