PIC 4020: withdrawing secondary application only

If the Department sends a s 57 (natural justice) letter alleging that the primary and secondary applicants have provide false or misleading information about their relationship, the obvious options are to dispute the allegation and run the risk of a visa refusal under PIC 4020(1) and a 3-year ban under PIC 4020(2) or to withdraw both the primary and secondary applications. A less obvious, yet quite interesting, option is to withdraw only the secondary applicant's application, as we explain.

Most visa subclasses are subject to Public Interest Criterion (PIC) 4020 of Schedule 4 to the Migration Regulations 1994 (Cth), which provides as follows:

(1) There is no evidence before the Minister that the applicant has given, or caused to be given, to the Minister, an officer, the Tribunal during the review of a Part 5-reviewable decision, a relevant assessing authority or a Medical Officer of the Commonwealth, a bogus document or information that is false or misleading in a material particular in relation to:

(a) the application for the visa; or

(b) a visa that the applicant held in the period of 12 months before the application was made.

(2) The Minister is satisfied that during the period:

(a) starting 3 years before the application was made; and

(b) ending when the Minister makes a decision to grant or refuse to grant the visa;

the applicant and each member of the family unit of the applicant has not been refused a visa because of a failure to satisfy the criteria in subclause (1).

...

If a s 57 letter is sent by the Department, the obvious options are:

  • to dispute the allegation and run the risk of a visa refusal under PIC 4020(1) and a 3-year ban under PIC 4020(2); or
  • to withdraw both the primary and secondary applications.

A less obvious, yet quite interesting, option is to withdraw only the secondary applicant's application. That is so because the giving of false or misleading information will certainly "infect" the secondary applicant's application, but will not necessarily "infect" the primary applicant's application, for the following reasons.

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