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Leaving Australia In Debt as Non-citizen - Can I Return?

Discussion in 'Immigration Law Forum' started by Mara, 24 February 2015.

  1. Mara

    Mara Member

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    Good morning,
    I'm from overseas and have a question concerning immigrating (only for holidays) to Australia. I still have an unsolved, outstanding civil matter with a very high charge in Australia, which is still in process (I get charged from an insurance company. I assume this is a civil matter?). I didn't get called into court yet and therefore I didn't pay my debt yet.

    I'm planning on coming back on holidays to Australia now and wonder, if this civil matter will show up when my international passport gets scanned at the airport. Will this affect me, even though my case hasn't gone to court yet? Will it prevent me from leaving Australia again (as I want to deal with the matter from my home country)? What will show up at the border protection? I already got a national police check, which showed, that I have no criminal history or "pending charges" (but pending charges only means: charges, that are stated at the court outcome. In my case there hasn't been court processings yet!). Thank you for any help.
     
  2. Sarah J

    Sarah J Well-Known Member

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    Hi Mara,

    From the looks of the Australian Immigration website, you'll need to pass a character requirement test in order to enter Australia, (even if you are entering as a tourist). Most of the requirements concern criminal backgrounds (not civil). While it does not mention civil matters, running from a debt may contribute toward your character. However, this would depend on: how much debt, how long ago was the debt, whether you are disputing the debt, what actions the insurance company have taken thus far to try and recover the debt etc.

    Sorry I cannot be more helpful, immigration is not my strong point. However, I would say, as long as a insurance company does not find out you have entered Australia, you're likely to be okay.
     
  3. Tim W

    Tim W Lawyer

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    I agree with the above.

    Your police check will probably not show up any civil matters.

    That said, if I was a lawyer for a plaintiff insurer, and the matter involved
    enough money that it was worth it for me to go to
    the trouble and cost of actually bringing proceedings,
    then I would not want you leaving Australia again while the matter was on foot.

    If I was the insurer's lawyer, and you were normally resident in Australia,
    I'd be making an application for an order that you to surrender your passport(s)
    while the matter was being dealt with. And for Freezing Orders on your assets.

    If you were not normally a resident of Australia, it's a bit more complicated.
    But I would certainly be looking at the possibility of keeping you
    (or at least, any assets you have in Australia) in the country.
     
    John R likes this.
  4. Mara

    Mara Member

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    Thank you both for the legal answers.

    I'm not an Australian citizen and I would only enter Australia on a tourist visa. The question is, if the border control can even look up civil matters/debts...?
     
  5. John R

    John R Well-Known Member

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    Hi @Mara,
    What do you mean by a "high charge"?
     

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