Impact of the 4020 Rule On A Visa Application

What is the 4020 rule?

The 4020 rule is a condition placed upon visa applications which can have devastating consequences for the right of a person to stay in Australia in the longer term. It was introduced on 2 April 2011 and amended the regulations of the Migration legislation so that a public interest criterion could be added to Visa applications. It contains a 3 year bar on applications from an applicant where they have previously submitted ‘bogus’ documents in a visa application as defined in the legislation.

What can you do if the 4020 rule has been used in relation to your Visa application?

The decision to impose a 3 year ban and refuse a visa application on the basis of the submission of bogus documents is a decision that is re-viewable before the Migration Review Tribunal and can also go for judicial review before the Federal Court of Australia. However, it is a very high hurdle to get over in order to prove that the ban should not have been imposed by the department of immigration. The ban is usually only imposed in cases where it is clear that the documents submitted have were not genuine. Relevantly, the state of mind of the applicant has no bearing on whether the documents are considered bogus or not. So it is technically possible to unknowingly submitted a ‘bogus’ document to the department and still have the three year ban imposed on further visa applications. Notably, the activation of the 4020 rule also poisons the applications made by any member of your family.

If you have had the 4020 public interest criterion raised against you visa application, there are a number of things that you can do. Firstly, the department will normally allow you 28 days to respond to the allegations regarding the imposition of the ban. It is also possible to argue for a waiver of 4020 rule on the basis of:

- compelling circumstances that affect the interests of Australia
- compelling or compassionate circumstances that affect the interests of an Australian citizen, an Australian permanent resident or an eligible New Zealand citizen

If you would like to consult with us in relation to the imposition of a 4020 rule, we have lawyers available that are experienced with the operation of this provision of the migration law and can advise you in relation to your appeal rights and options.