s57 Natural Justice Letter
"Invitation to Comment On Adverse Information"
IMMI s57 Natural Justice Letter is an Invitation To Comment On Information from the Australian Department of Home Affairs. Such a Natural Justice Letter is often issued to give a Visa Applicant a fair opportunity to comment on information which is likely to result in the refusal of their visa application. For example, if the case officer (also known as 'Delegate') suspects (or reasonably believes) that a visa applicant has provided, false, misleading, or fraudulent information in their visa application (or in supporting documents) then the Delegate may 'invite' the applicant to comment/explain why did they do so.
Generally, s57 Natural Justice should be taken as an indication that the Delegate has made up their mind to refuse the visa application but they are giving the applicant a fair opportunity to change the Delegate's mind. The applicant may try to change the Delegate's mind by providing a convincing explanation (and supporting documents) in their written response to a s57 Natural Justice Letter.
An applicant who has received an IMMI Invitation To Comment on Adverse Information must follow the instructions provided in the letter. In particular, they must be mindful of the given timeframe within which they must provide their response. The Invitation to Comment letter from the Department of Home Affairs will explain how the applicant can provide their response. Usually, such a response may be provided via ImmiAccount if the application was lodged online through ImmiAccount. If an applicant does not have a convincing explanation to give in their response, then they may consider withdrawing their application before it may be refused.
In some cases, the response may be required and provided in an interview. The timeframe to respond may also vary depending on an applicant's circumstances. For instance, if an applicant is in immigration detention, the prescribed time to respond is 3 working days after receiving the s57 letter.
If an applicant fails to respond to a s57 Natural Justice Letter within the given timeframe, the Delegate may proceed to make a decision on the application without making any further requests. In such a scenario, the Delegate may draw a negative inference and may proceed to refuse the application. An application refused as a result of false or misleading information or bogus documents is likely to trigger Public Interest Criteria 4020 ('PIC 4020'). Imposition of PIC 4020 means the applicant may be barred from securing a visa for Australia for the next three or ten years - depending upon the misleading information or nature of the bogus document.
It is always a good idea to seek legal advice if you have received a s57 Natural Justice Letter and need to respond to it. It is because this may be your last opportunity to maximise the chances of securing the positive outcome you have hoped for.
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