Public Interest Criterion 4020 (PIC 4020)

Under PIC 4020, your visa application may be refused if:  

  • A bogus document or false or misleading information has been provided in relation to a particular visa application matter; or  
  • A visa applicant’s identity cannot be satisfied.

The importance of PIC 4020

The purpose of PIC 4020 is to maintain integrity in the Australian immigration  program as it is a strong disincentive for a visa applicant committing identity fraud or providing bogus documents or false and misleading information in relation to their visa application.

What visas are affected?

PIC 4020 applies to nearly all permanent and temporary visas including skilled, business, family and student visas. It does not cover any decisions relating to Australian citizenship matters or immigration fraud committed in other countries.

PIC 4020 applies in relation to a visa application or a visa that the applicant held in the period of 12 months before a visa application was made.

What is false and 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 include:

  • False or inaccurate statements;
  • Omission of facts; or
  • Supplying false statements or information when asked to clarify information or omitting relevant information in a way that misrepresents facts.

Innocent mistakes such as incorrectly typed details do not amount to false and and misleading information.

What is a bogus document?

Examples of bogus documents include:

  • Documents purporting to have been, but were not, issued in respect of the applicant;
  • Counterfeit documents;
  • Altered documents; or
  • Documents obtained because of a false or misleading statement.

Identity Assessment

Non-cooperation or failure on the part of a visa applicant to provide adequate documentation and/or information to support their claim to an identity can result in a delegate not being satisfied that the visa applicant is the person they claim to be.

Non-grant periods

If a visa applicant fails to meet the PIC 4020 requirement, the visa may be refused and a visa applicant may be prevented from being granted for a further visa for three years. There is no waiver of the ban for visa applicants who provide false information or documents relating to their identity. In this case, a 10 year ban will apply.


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