Australia has joined Canada and Britain in denying Chris Brown a visa. The Department of Immigration and Border Protection first issued the performer with a notice of intention to consider refusal (NOICR) and then later denied his visa. We look at whether prospective applicants should consider the possibility of being denied a visa on character grounds.
Australian visa qualifications include showing the applicant is of good character. This is assessed according to various criteria, including whether you have a substantial criminal record.
In 2009, Brown pleaded guilty to assaulting his then-girlfriend, Rihanna. Brown has been granted admission into Australia twice since then even though the character requirements have long been in place.
The government’s recent refusal of entry follows an earlier decision to deny world champion boxer Floyd Mayweather’s visa application on similar grounds.
Brown was invited to respond to the NOICR within 28 days of its issuance and present evidence speaking to his good character. However, the Minister for Immigration retains discretion regarding entrance into Australia where applicants have prior convictions. New Zealand has also stated that Brown is unsuitable for entry into the country.
Character grounds appear to be the most common reason for high-profile visa refusal. Immigration Minister Peter Dutton recently refused entry to US anti-abortion activist Troy Newman after an appeal by Labour MP Terri Butler stating that Newman could “cause significant harm to [the] community” and incite civil disobedience.
Unless you have a substantial criminal record, it is unlikely that you will be refused a visa on character grounds. While further guidelines apply to the character test, the decision of the Minister is final, giving him the power to refuse a visa or even cancel a visa that has already been granted.
If your visa is cancelled on the grounds of a substantial criminal record, criminal or general conduct you will be permanently banned from entering Australia.
Migration agent for 1st Contact Australia, Sam Hopwood, says: “In reality, this shouldn’t have a knock-on effect for applicants, as the character test has always applied to visa applications. It simply serves as a further example of how serious Australia considers its visa laws to be – and a word of warning to anyone trying to evade them.”