How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask James D. Ford Your Own Question
James D. Ford
James D. Ford, Solicitor
Category: Australia Law
Satisfied Customers: 1601
Experience:  Consulting Principal at Nexus Law Group
Type Your Australia Law Question Here...
James D. Ford is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

I have a Stealing offence back on 2011 July, and by that

Customer Question

Hi I have a Stealing offence back on 2011 July , and by that time I am holding a bridging visa waiting to be granted as permanent visa in Australia , just wondering will that affecting my process of grant to become a permanent resident . For the offence is my first offence and paid a fine of $500 dollar Australian .
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Australia Law
Expert:  James D. Ford replied 2 years ago.

Were you issued with an infringement notice?

If you paid the fine.. did you pay it back in 2011? when it was due to be paid?

I assume it was in WA?

Then, it is likely you avoided getting a criminal conviction on your record, as petty theft is not usually categorised as a criminal offence, it is often called a regulatory offence.

What is the 'Character Test'?

The 'character test' is contained in section 501(6) of the Migration Act.

A person fails the character test if:

  • the person has a 'substantial criminal record' (see the definition below), or
  • the person was convicted of a criminal offence while a detainee, or
  • the person is or was associated with an individual or group reasonably suspected of being involved in criminal activity, or
  • the person is otherwise not of 'good character' because
  1. of current or past criminal conduct, or
  2. there is a significant risk that the person would:-
  • commit a crime in Australia, or
  • harass, molest, intimidate or threaten stalk another person, or
  • 'vilify' a segment of the Australian community (eg promote racism), or
  • 'incite discord' (eg promote community or cultural divisions), or
  • represent a 'danger' to the Australian community through 'violent' or 'disruptive' activities.

The Minister for Immigration - or those to which he 'delegates' (gives) authority decide whether a person passess the 'character test'.

What is a 'Substantial Criminal Record'?

A 'substantial criminal record' is defined by section 158(7) as where:

  • a person has been sentenced to death in any country, or
  • a person has been sentenced to life imprisonment in any country, or
  • a person has been sentenced to a term of imprisonment of 2 years or more in any country, or
  • a person has been sentenced to more than one term of imprisonment, the total of which is 2 years or more, or
  • the person has been acquitted of any offence due to 'unsoundness of mind' or 'insanity' and detained in an institution.

Therefore, whilst it is ultimately up to the Minster of Immigration, this petty theft, will most likely not impact your "character" test.

Kind regards,


Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I have paid on the same day after the court finished , as in my Australia federal clearance is only show I have a offence in stealing and paid fine for $500 dollar , am I be failing character test.Thanks
Expert:  James D. Ford replied 2 years ago.

Ok, back then the infringement system was not yet operating, so your matter went to Court... and from what you have explained you plead guilty and do have a criminal record related to the stealing charge. I am assuming that the goods were not of much value... so it would be considered petty theft, and that was why a fine was imposed, which you promptly paid.

Past and present criminal conduct

Criminal conduct refers to conduct punishable by law and has been actually punished by a conviction for an offence.

Factors which are relevant in considering your past and present criminal conduct include:

• the nature, severity and frequency of the offence/s

• the period since the offence/s were committed

• your record since the offence/s were committed including any evidence of recidivism or continuing association with criminals and any pattern of similar offences or blatant disregard or contempt for the law

• any circumstances surrounding the offending which may explain the conduct such as may be evidence from judges’ comments, parole reports and similar documents, and

• any good acts after the criminal conduct that are indications that you may be reformed.

Again, it is not ideal that this record is on your file... but if it is an isolated incident... it is not major or serious crime, so theoretically, you should still pass the "character" test.

Please accept and rate my response, cheers, James

Expert:  James D. Ford replied 2 years ago.

Hi Vincent, please accept and rate my response, cheers, James