Beware of contradictory information on Facebook.
Recently, a visa applicant was before the Federal Circuit Court of Australia appealing a decision on his visa application.
In that case, the Court ruled that material on the Facebook page of a visa applicant is “information” about “evidentiary material” used to determine the whether an applicant’s claims made in his visa application were truthful.
The man was from Bangladesh, and he claimed in his visa application that he had converted from Islam to Christianity, and that he feared for his life if he were to return to Bangladesh because of his religious conversion.
The Department of refused his visa application after looking at his Facebook page, which stated that he was a Muslim.
The Court found that a person’s social media page is “information” taken into account by the Department, or at the minimum it had bearing on the applicant’s credibility.
What can we learn?
The Department of Immigration is able to take into consideration any publicly available, relevant information that it accesses on the Internet when making a decision regarding your visa application. This includes any information that directly contradicts details that you have supplied in your application, for example regarding your relationship status or work history.
The Department of Immigration can and does conduct searches of the Internet for references to a visa applicant’s name, as part of their due diligence. Their searches may lead to social media accounts such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or others, and these may be monitored and used to determine the credibility of information given in your visa application.
Tips for Social Media Use:
- Consider whether there are any other details about you that are publicly available on the Internet or social media
- When posting information about yourself on your social media accounts or in any other forum on the Internet, bear in mind that the Department of Immigration may see this information.
- Consider removing any information from your social media accounts which is out of date or which does not reflect your current circumstances.
- Check your privacy settings on social media accounts, the privacy settings allow you to control the information published about you by others or to choose what information is displayed publicly.