PIC 4020


Earlier in November, the government made changes to Public Interest Criteria 4020 (‘the integrity PIC’), extending its application to any visa held by the applicant in the last 10 years – see our blog published on 9 November 2017.

The changes were implemented by a legislative instrument entitled ‘Migration Legislation Amendment (2017 Measures No. 4) Regulations 2017.’ Unlike a Bill, which is debated and voted on in Parliament before becoming law, regulations come into force immediately once they are signed off on by the Governor-General. They are then tabled in Parliament, at which point politicians can move to have them "disallowed" within 15 days.

On 14 November 2017, Senator Nick McKim introduced a motion to disallow this instrument and after a number of postponements, the Senate finally disallowed it on 5 December 2017. The instrument has now ceased to be in effect and is labelled “No longer in force” on the Federal Register of Legislation - https://www.legislation.gov.au/Details/F2017L01425.

Effectively, this means that the changes are taken never to have happened, and the integrity PIC will remain as it was prior to the changes – applying only to visas held by the applicant in the last 12 months.

It is unclear whether the Department of Immigration will seek to lodge a new instrument with similar changes. If you have concerns about the integrity PIC potentially affecting your visa application, get in touch with Putt Legal today!


Nearly every Australian visa has a "public interest criteria" - commonly known as a PIC 4020 - which must be satisfied in order for the visa to be granted.

PIC 4020 is essentially an integrity check.  Put simply, it involves immigration confirming that you aren't providing them with false or misleading information, or bogus documents - and that you haven't done so in the past.  If you don't pass the integrity check, then you don't get your visa.

The current version of PIC 4020 allows immigration to refuse your visa application in circumstances where the applicant provides a bogus document or information that is ‘false or misleading in a material particular’, in relation to –

  1. any current application for a visa, or
  2. any visa that the applicant held in the period of 12 months before the application was made.

Significantly, however, PIC 4020 is changing as of 18 November 2017.

The new version of PIC 4020 will apply to any visa that the applicant has held, or applied for, in the 10 years before the current application was made. This means that any information or documents provided to immigration, a skills assessment body or Medical Officer of the Commonwealth in conjunction with a visa application made in the last 10 years can be taken into account to determine whether you pass the integrity check.  Importantly, this includes visas which were refused or withdrawn prior to decision.

The changes are contained in the Migration Legislation Amendment (2017 Measures No. 4) Regulations 2017.

If you have any concerns about this forthcoming change - because, for example, you may have forgotten to previously declare a criminal conviction - then we strongly recommend that you seek legal advice before lodging your next visa application. 

Putt Legal is experienced in making submissions to the immigration department, requesting that the strict application of PIC 4020 be waived.