New Zealanders confirmed as top victims of character cancellations | Irish Bentley Laywers
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In 2015 there were a record number of visa cancellations on the grounds of character. In total there were 580 cases of the Minister for Immigration cancelling visas under section 501 of the Migration Act 1958 (Cth).

The Minister’s power to cancel a visa was significantly increased by an amendment to the legislation in 2014. Section 501 provides that the Minister or a delegate of the Minister may cancel a visa if the visa holder does not meet the character tests set out in the legislation. Particularly, this has caused an increase in the number of New Zealand citizens affected by this power.

table 2 section 501
Source: Jerry Gomez, ‘Visa cancellations on character grounds
hits new record: guess which country tops the list?’
Migration Alliance

Of the 580 visas that were cancelled, 339 were held by New Zealand citizens. This represents over 60 percent of all visa cancellations under this power.

Most decisions appear to be based on cumulative terms of imprisonment, which means that if someone has had several, smaller convictions for minor offences, they may face having their visas cancelled. There have been several cases of people who live and have family in Australia having their visas cancelled for minor offences.


These numbers demonstrate these new powers afforded to the Minister of Immigration provide a broad discretionary power to cancel visas and that visa holders need to be aware of how this might impact their visa or visa application.

It is always best to seek the right advice first to avoid painful (and often expensive) issues in the future.

Irish Bentley Lawyers have significant experience in all facets of migration law. We prefer to provide most of our services on a fixed price basis (rather than a time basis) where possible.

Please note that the above does not constitute legal advice and Irish Bentley Lawyers make no representations or warranties as to the accuracy of any of the information contained herein. If you have a migration issue, then please do not hesitate to contact the team at Irish Bentley Lawyers – there is no substitute for proper legal advice based on your individual and unique circumstances.

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