Transparency is Key in Any Migration Application

Posted on July 19, 2018 by Benson Shi

Why is it important to disclose everything to my lawyer?

It may sometimes seem difficult or even pointless to disclose everything to your lawyer. Some information may be too sensitive or personal, you may think that the information reflects badly on you as a person, or you may believe that the information is trivial and irrelevant to your case. However, failing to share information to your lawyer could be seriously detrimental to you. For the following reasons, no matter the situation, it is crucial to disclose everything.

 

  1. Your lawyer can provide you with more accurate and relevant advice

By consulting a lawyer, you are trusting them to provide you with the best advice relating to your matter. Your lawyer will be unable to do so if they are not aware of all the facts of your case.  Having full knowledge about your case is the only way that your lawyer can provide you with all the relevant information and advice about your case and tailor their response specifically to you.

Not only that, by disclosing everything, this will enable your lawyer to consider all the options that are available to you. This will allow your lawyer to implement lateral thinking and offer a range of appropriate solutions or alternatives to you. This could result in you making more of an informed choice and consider options that you previously may not have been considered.

Further, it will allow your lawyer to pre-empt, and prepare for, any problems that may arise in your visa application process. With full disclosure, this will enable your lawyer to address any weaknesses of your case more effectively and devise strategies to eliminate, or reduce, any damage they may bring.

 

  1. Withholding information can jeopardise your visa

Any inconsistencies or inaccuracies in your application, whether deliberate or accidental, can have serious consequences on your current visa or your application for one. It is essential to disclose all information, even if you do not think it is relevant. The Department is vigilant when processing applications and possess technology and data caches that allow them to identify any incorrect or omitted information in your application.

The Department of Home Affairs has a very broad digital reach and in the 2018 budget, the Government is committed to providing approximately $59.1 million AUD to be spent on creating a National Criminal Intelligence System, which will provide a national repository of criminal intelligence and information.

Public Interest Criterion 420 (PIC4020) is a provision that must be considered and cannot be ignored within your immigration history.  If it becomes known that your application has provided false or misleading, your application processing time may be delayed, and may ultimately end in your visa being refused. If your visa is refused on the basis of false and misleading information provided – not related to your identity (PIC4020), you will also have an exclusion period, which may preclude you from being granted another visa for a period of three years.

Even if your visa is granted, it can still be cancelled by the Minister after they learn of any incorrect information, pursuant to section 109 of the Migration Act 1958 (Cth). It should be noted that there are other provisions in the Migration Act that can also affect your visa outcome.

Incorrect or inaccurate information relating to a previous Australian visa you held could also be grounds for cancelling your current visa. Withholding information reflects poorly on your credibility and character and could also affect future applications for another visa or even for citizenship.

Essentially, any incorrect or omitted information in your application will still carry serious consequences for you no matter what your current visa status is or how much time has lapsed.

 

  1. Everything is confidential

It is understandable to feel weary to disclose everything to your lawyer. However, it is important to note that lawyers are bound by the Legal Profession Uniform Law Australian Solicitors’ Conduct Rules 2015 (‘Solicitors’ Conduct Rules’).

These Solicitors’ Conduct Rules bind lawyers to confidentiality and do not allow them to disclose any information confidential to a client, unless compelled by law under Rule 9.2 of the Solicitors’ Conduct Rules.

 

A visa application with incorrect or incomplete information could seriously affect your current visa or any future visa applications. It does not matter if you believe that the information may damage or is irrelevant to your case as all omissions or errors, whether innocent or deliberate, carry serious negative consequences. Full disclosure is the only way to ensure that you receive the most accurate and useful legal advice that is prepared for any potential problems that may arise.

Do not risk having your visa cancelled or jeopardise your ability to obtain another visa, or even citizenship, in the future by ensuring that you disclose everything to your lawyer. To put it simply, your lawyer is there to help you and their ability to do so is dependent solely on how much information you provide them.