501 Visa Cancellation – Criminal Record & Character Test


Worried about your criminal record leading to a section 501 visa cancellation?

10 Min Chat - Section 501


Section 501 is Visa Cancellations because of Criminal Records

If you have a criminal record, things look grim since 2015. MANDATORY CANCELLATION applies when you have conviction terms (sentences) if added together, totalling more than 12 months.

Immigration laws change faster than almost every other field of law. Immigration lawyers advising people with criminal records need to be very familiar with recent changes and policies.
Visa cancellations under section 501 of the Migration Act are now, by far, the scariest issue facing visa applicants who have a criminal record.

New Criminal Deportation Focus

Criminal deportation appears to be a big focus for the present government and the current Minister.

Many visas have been cancelled since Ministerial Direction (Direction 65) was re-issued in December 2014. In the 2015 year and so far in 2016, we’ve seen record numbers of visa cancellation cases because of criminal records.

When  s501 Visa Cancellation Kicks In

Once the total of all of your criminal convictions equals or exceeds 12 months, this triggers the power under section 501 for the Minister to cancel your visa. It is just a matter of time that you’ll be served with a notice asking you why your visa should not be cancelled.

I can help with submissions as to why a visa that has been cancelled by a delegate of the Minister should be revoked.

Urgent revocation submissions are possible if the Minister has not acted personally to cancel the visa

If the revocation of a visa cancellation is not allowed (eg. if the Minister decides to exercise the section 501 visa cancellation power personally) then it may be possible to make an application to the Federal Court of Australia to have the decision quashed for being legally unreasonable.

Only legally unreasonable decisions of the Minister will be struck down by the courts…And the courts have had a lot of opportunities recently to explore what is “within” the Minister’s power and “outside” his power.

The Minister must act “legally reasonably” when cancelling a visa. What is a ‘legally reasonable’ decision was considered in the case of Mas Eden v The Minister for Immigration in 2015 and on appeal in 2016. I represented Mas Eden on both occasions.

I was successful in the visa cancellation appeal of Amoorthum v Minister for Immigration. Clarel Amoorthum had his visa refused personally by the Minister after failing the character test. The decision to cancel was found to be legally unreasonable by His Honour Justice Tracey in the Federal Court of Australia in 2016.

Another case in which I am representing a visa applicant who has had their visa cancelled under the section 501 power is The Minister for Immigration v Tam Thi Le. My win in this case before the Federal Court of Australia was appealed by the Minister. A decision was handed down in 2016 by the Full Court of the Federal Court of Australia and is of particular interest to anyone who was ever granted residence on the basis of being a refugee.

Section 501 Visa Cancellation Tips

# 1 – Make sure that your submissions are well presented if your visa has been cancelled under Section 501 – you have one big chance to make a difference to any cancellation decision.

#2 – The best time to act is early – ideally when you receive a notice of intention to consider cancellation of your visa. If this is not possible, you’ll need to know whether an application for revocation of a visa that has already been cancelled, is possible.

#3 – If you have run out of time, as Mas Eden, Clarel Amoorthum and Tam Thi Le all did, there may still be scope to lodge an application out of time. I’ve done this in all three of these 501 visa cancellation cases but you must have an arguable case, a reasonable explanation for the delay and show there is no prejudice to the Minister.

Call MyVisa to discuss your circumstances and what options you have.

Recent Article on Section 501

Article: Sex offender David Degning loses court battle against deportation: Visa cancelled under Section 501 of the Migration Act

Sex offender David Degning loses court battle against deportation – application to the Federal Court unsuccessful – procedural fairness in Section 501 cases considered.


10 Min Chat - Section 501

Nilesh Nandan is Australia's most sought after immigration lawyer for visa refusals and visa cancellations. Appeal you visa or get help to relodge your Australian visa application or citizenship application.
  • Hi
    I need some advise on deportation.
    a friend who is currently in prison was meant to be related today but was informed yesterday that he will be deported back to New Zealand.
    He has been in Australia since he was 12 years old.
    My name is Fran Berenger
    email franberenger@dodo.com.au
    Mobile: 0433 884 555

      • How do i get in contact, with someone, as i have a perfect case and reason why i missed out on the 28 day period as it was with held from me, and another form stating i had 12 months yo return. And i was still told that my case was hopeless.

  • Hi there,

    I’m currently living in Australia (British citizen) and also getting married here in March 2017. My father has a criminal conviction where he was sentenced to 12 months suspended for 18 in 2013. I noticed on the government website it says you cannot enter if you have a conviction on more than 12 months. I’m wondering if there is a way he can get a visiting or another visa for a 2 or 3 week stay?

    Kind regards


  • Hi, hoping you can help my partner had his visa cancelled under the 501 , he came to Australian when he was 4 years old Is now 49. He has criminal history since 1989 majority driving under the influence and no MDL. Not good I know we have a 25year friend ship and 11years defacto, he has 11 and 15 year old daughters in Australia . Can you help he’s currently in Yongah detention centre

  • Hi there
    I was in Cyprus as a student and i was given a leave letter stated that my study period has extended than my course duration but my final exam was close and my college principle advised me to stay till the exam finishes and i did so and my visa was overstayed.
    Now i need to apply for Permanent residency and applied for police clearance from Cyprus but they sent me a letter that they couldn’t issue a police clearance letter.
    Would that be issue to grant my visa?
    The letter says ” we can not issue a police clearance although he has not any criminal records in Cyprus”
    Your answer would be Appreciated.
    Thanks in advance

  • 501 visa cancellation what is meant by on shore and off shore. The person is up for parole in november if granted parole but is still waiting for a hearing does off shore mean back to your country to wait for the outcome or go to somewhere like xmas Is untill a result is recieved

  • It needs to be noted that people are being detained and deported that haven’t even committed a offence, just for having a association of mates is enough to be deemed bad character and see ya later 😡 and seeing people now that haven’t even served 12 months having their visas cancelled.
    This Gestapo Government need to be brought before the courts in The Hague

  • Hi my name is Gilles Pallas;
    I am currently detained at Perth Detention Centre.
    I am 55 years of age and have been in Australia for the past 45 years.
    I have six beautiful kids aged 4 years old to 36 years of age who are all Australian born. I have 2 brothers who are Australian citizens and my mother and father are also.
    I have been in detention for 11 months now after my permanent residency visa was cancelled under the 501 law. I was given parole to community, but taken Detention Centre, because I’ve have been to prison.
    Since I have been here I was told that I can be deported, and suffer being Indefinitely Detained meaning I would be detained for no limited period of time till they deem me satisfactory, reasons being I was born in France, but move to Australia with my parents when I was a kid, in 1973 I’ve always class myself Australian but not a citizen of this country, just permanent resented.
    I have put an appeal to the Federal Court to get the minister’s decision to be reversed.
    The reason I am writing is for the Australian Community to help stop me from getting moved to a country that I don’t know any one can’t speak French.
    My kids who are really the most important thing I have in my life, it is my kids that are the ones who have been suffering most knowing that they will not be able to see their Dad again.
    All I have and look forward to is seeing my kids and family, that’s all I have left that, keeps me fighting and going on. My human rights already have been violated. I was never the best person in my past life nor was I the most innocent , but I have done my time and I did deserve every hour I spent in prison , which made me lose so much and think a lot about what I wanted in life, for me and for my kids and how to be a great father that they can be proud of, that I can make it to their school meetings without teachers and other kids asking where your father, without them being ashamed to say that his being deported to France.
    I’ve always thought of myself to be an Australian and never thought that I would have anyone in the world to tell me otherwise.
    Outside of it I know nothing but the Australian way of living, me being in detention indefinitely is never been the Australian way, especially when my whole family are Australian, I want nothing but to keep living in Australia, but I feel like I’ve been stopped from doing so all because of my past history which I’ve done my time for. I’ve always worked hard paid tax. I’ve owned two property’s
    Just over 4 half years ago I started a company with two of my son, bought a tilt tray truck and bought 67ac farm.
    I did my best to be a great father and always be there to make them proud. And get to do the fatherly things that other get the privilege doing, I am sorry for all the past I have done, but it does not represent the type of person I ‘am now.
    Please forgive me but I ‘am a great Australian with bad past which I have paid for.
    Please take your time to see my case hopefully it will get me back home safe to my family.
    Gilles Roger PALLAS

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