My British friend left Australia when he was on a Working Holiday Visa without paying his drink driving fine of $700 and is wondering if he would be allowed back in the country if he pays it, even though it was 2 years ago?

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    @GayotFow As I understand it, OP's friend is British and the visa is Australian, not the other way around (Australia certainly does offer Working Holiday visas). – Urbana Mar 13 '16 at 7:24

Australia requires everyone entering the country who isn't a citizen to be of good character (or have the requirement waived, which is so rare it's not discussed on the website and you'll probably need a lawyer if you're in this situation). This has specific requirements in Australian law. Most of these are for particular offenses or sentences, but there is a catch-all:

(c) having regard to either or both of the following:

 (i)  the person's past and present criminal conduct;

 (ii)  the person's past and present general conduct;

the person is not of good character; or

It's conceivable that an immigration officer might decide that someone who has not paid their fine is not of good character under this subsection.

Other than that, a fine and driving disqualification does not really meet any of the listed requirements which would cause a finding of not passing the character test.

Remember that you need to tick Yes on the landing card and disclose the conviction to the immigration officer. You'll have a chat with the immigration officer, likely about why it took so long to pay the fine, and the officer will assess your character. Ticking No is a great way to guarantee a refusal of entry.

  • I'm not suggesting avoiding answering yes to this, but a fine isn't a conviction, right? – Tim Malone May 23 '16 at 9:04

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