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The Administrative Appeals Tribunal of Australia has affirmed the decision of the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection to reject Mr Manishkumar Mishra's application for Australian citizenship.
The department had refused Mr Mishra's application on 5 July 2016 on character grounds. Mr Mishra had two convictions against him in a case of domestic violence. On 20 May 2013, the applicant appeared before the Queanbeyan Local Court where he was fined $200 for common assault (DV) and $500 for assault occasioning actual bodily harm (DV).
The Minister for Immigration and Border Protection refused Mr Mishra's application for citizenship on the basis of these convictions. On 13 February 2017, Mr Mishra appealed to this Tribunal to review the decision.
The tribunal reviewed his case and found that Mr Mishra had not been entirely honest about disclosing his convictions. Deputy President Dr P McDermott RFD of the Tribunal observed, "In my opinion, the applicant failed to disclose that he had been convicted of two assault offences which are serious offences, one of which involved the occasioning of bodily harm. His failure to disclose both of these serious offences when making his application for citizenship by conferral is certainly a matter of deception."
Mr Mishra had arrived in Australia on 27 August 2007 on a student visa. He was granted permanent residency on 31 January 2015. He lodged an application for Australian citizenship in February 2016. In May, Department of Immigration and Border Protection invited him to comment on the findings of adverse information which was related to his conviction. Eventually, his application was refused.
The AAT heard that Mr Mishra separated from his wife after assaulting her on the night of May 1, 2013.
Mr Mishra disputed these facts, but the tribunal accepted that the applicant had committed the offences for which he was convicted when assessing whether he was of good character.
Mr Mishra produced support letters from his employer, friends and neighbours to prove his good character but the AAT observed that Mr Mishra “has not conducted himself in a manner that accords with society’s values.”
“Domestic violence is certainly quite contrary to the values of our society,” said Dr P McDermott RFD.
Deputy President Dr P McDermott RFD of the Tribunal also pointed out that Mr Mishra failed to accept the responsibility for his actions.
He observed, “There is no cogent evidence before me that the applicant, who has committed domestic violence, is a person of good character. There are a number of other reasons for why I have come to this conclusion: he has still not accepted responsibility for his actions, he has given inconsistent explanations of the circumstances of his assault convictions, he has given references which treat those circumstances as allegations and absolve him of any blame for his convictions, and in his application for citizenship by conferral he did not fully disclose both serious assault convictions.”
Dr P McDermott RFD, however, said: “My decision has no bearing on his entitlement to remain in Australia”.