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An Indian citizen in Australia was on Tuesday refused a partner visa by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) on character grounds.
Hazoor Sandhu had approached the tribunal in June after a delegate of Minister of Border Protection and Immigration denied him a partner visa in May this year.
The tribunal heard Sandhu’s long record of criminal history which includes three counts of sexual assaults on different women, an assault on a roommate’s partner and domestic violence against his partner.
Sandhu arrived as a student in Australia in April 2008. After his student visa expired in February 2011, he overstayed his visa and remained unlawfully in the country before applying for a partner visa in November 2011.
He was granted a bridging visa in December 2011 whilst his application for the visa was being processed.
Almost five and half years later, on 15th May 2017, a delegate of the Minister refused the Sandhu’s application for a Partner visa. The delegate considered that the applicant was not of good character and did not pass the character test.
Sandhu’s criminal history includes sexual assaults on women, assault on his roommate’s partner and assaulting his partner.
On 5th June 2009, Sandhu was given an 18 month probation after he was charged with three counts of sexual assault where he admitted to grabbing victim's breast without their consent. No conviction was recorded.
On 8 January 2013, Sandhu was fined $200 for contravention of release conditions with no conviction recorded after he slapped his partner on face twice in December 2012 and damaging the television set. Police was called to his residence several times during this period for domestic violence incidents.
Two years later in June 2015, Sandhu was convicted of common assault and fined $1500 after he touched his roommate’s partner asleep in the bedroom, who complained of being sexually molested at the hospital and underwent blood tests.
In May 2017, Sandhu who blamed his behaviour on excessive drinking, acknowledged that his “behaviour in 2008, 2011 and 2015 was unacceptable and inappropriate”, however, in his earlier statutory declaration of 31 July 2015 he asserted that he had “accidentally touched the girl”.
Sandhu’s wife who is an Australian citizen, in a statement, said she would be heartbroken if her husband was sent back to India. She stated that there would be difficulties of saying goodbye to her friends and family as well as the culture shock. She also referred to the difficulty of her losing her dogs. She, however, stated that she would go with him to India.
Tribunal Denies Visa
While denying him the visa, the tribunal observed the applicant did not appear to have taken concrete steps to rehabilitate himself.
Deputy President Dr P McDermott RFD noted Sandhu had not taken steps to avoid the use of alcohol.
“This causes me to find that there is a risk that if the applicant was drinking he would again commit an assault upon a female if the opportunity presented itself.
“I am not satisfied that the applicant had taken steps to avoid the use of alcohol which he asserts was an influence for his three sexual assaults.”
The tribunal recognised that refusal of visa would have an impact on family members but ‘the protection and the expectations of the Australian community’ outweighed this and ruled in favor of refusing the visa.