New Zealanders have been feeling particularly hit by the effects of visa cancellations on character grounds in the last year. The media coverage has primarily focused on the higher than proportionate effects of a visa cancellation on the typical New Zealander – many New Zealanders live on temporary visas, but have resided in Australia since they were small children, and have little to no connections left in New Zealand.
However, a recent Freedom of Information disclosure has revealed that our friends across the pond don’t just feel the pain of a visa cancellation more so than a visitor from further ashore, but as a nationality, they actually make up an astronomically higher number of visa cancellations than any other country. 339 visas belonging to New Zealand nationals were cancelled in the 2014-15 financial year, compared to the next largest group of just 64 – coming from the United Kingdom. The only other countries to even reach double digits were Sudan, Vietnam and Fiji, with 16, 14, and 10 visa cancellations respectively. The total number of visas cancelled under the s501 character powers was 580.
Of these 580 visa cancellations, most were for ‘Other Violent Offences’. 106 visas were cancelled for this reason. The next most common reason for cancelling a visa was Assault, which made up 97 of the 580 cancellations. In third place was ‘Other Non-Violent Offences’, which made up 89 cancellations. These are all offences which cannot be categorised as drug-related offences, sexual offences, grievous bodily harm, child, robbery, kidnapping or fraud related offences or threats.
The total number of 580 is also an increase on visa cancellations on character grounds generally. In the decade prior to the 2014/15 financial year, the number of visas cancelled under s501 only exceeded 100 five times, with the next highest number of cancellations (174) being in 2004/05.
A visa cancellation on character grounds is a serious process which can result in a lifetime exclusion from Australia. If you believe you are at risk of your visa being cancelled, contact our offices immediately for an appointment with one of our experienced immigration lawyers.