The Hobart Community Legal Service is often asked about the effect of minor convictions, such as a speeding fine, or driving over the limit, and how these will affect the validity of a student visa. Generally, minor offences are not going to affect a visa. DIAC looks at criminal offences involving violence, trafficking or distribution of drugs, injury to or corruption of young people, and sex offences against children as the most serious offences warranting deportation. However, any offence that results in a conviction of 12 months imprisonment or more can lead to deportation.
Under the Migration Act 1958 (Cth) section 201 a person who is not an Australian citizen but has been a permanent resident for less than 10 years, and who is convicted for an offence for which they are imprisoned for one year or more may be deported by DIAC. Section 501 of the Act provides much broader discretionary grounds and allows the Minister of DIAC to cancel a temporary or permanent visa on character grounds. Character grounds includes terms of imprisonment of 12 months or more as a substantial criminal record (s501(7)).