Under section 501 Migration Act, the Minister has the power to refuse or cancel a visa if they are not satisfied that a person passes the character test.
This is known as a section 501 cancellation or a character cancellation.
What are the grounds for a section 501 cancellation?
The 501 cancellation power is generally a discretionary power. However, the Minister MUST cancel your visa if you are currently in prison and you have:
- A substantial criminal record, or
- Been convicted of a sexually based offence against a child
All visa holders and visa applicants can be affected by section 501 cancellation. It does not matter how long you have held your visa for, even if you came to Australia as a child or you were born here.
What is the character test?
Section 501 Migration Act outlines the character test. The Minister will have regard to:
- Your past and present criminal conduct
- Your past and present general conduct
Reasons for 501 cancellation include, but are not limited to:
- You have a substantial criminal record
- You have been convicted of offences in Australia or overseas
- You have committed an offence while in immigration detention
- You have been in or associated with a criminal group, organisation or person
- You have been convicted in Australia or overseas with a war crime or crime against humanity
- You have been assessed by ASIO to be a risk to national security
- You have an Interpol notice in force against you
Can I appeal a section 501 visa cancellation?
You can appeal a 501 visa cancellation or refusal. Generally, a character cancellation can be appealed to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT), though there are exceptions to this. You will require legal representation at the AAT.
The appeal options should be outlined in your 501 cancellation or refusal decision notification from the Department of Home Affairs. If you have received a 501 cancellation or refusal, you should speak to a lawyer about the appeals process. Our expert migration lawyers can assist you in determining if you have grounds to appeal a decision, assist you with the appeals process and represent you at the AAT.