It’s now apparent that how you use your social media can affect your visa application. This was the case for a 36-year-old male petitioner who had his application for a protection visa rejected because he had given conflicting information. The applicant who had arrived in Australia on a visitor visa in October 2013 stated in his application that he had converted to Christianity from Islam while still in his home country. He then got baptised in Australia and, as a consequence, was afraid of going back to his country for fear of persecution.
The Immigration Department, however, took the view that his claims of conversion to Christianity were made-up; this was on account of the information he had posted on his Facebook page which stated that he was a Muslim. Interestingly, the official reason given by the Department did not mention this as the reason for rejecting the application.
The Administrative Appeals Tribunal upheld this decision once the applicant sought a review of the decision, agreeing with the Immigration Department that the information on his Facebook page was inconsistent with his claim of conversion to Christianity. However, the Federal Circuit Court set aside the tribunal’s order since the applicant had not been provided with the material facts responsible for the rejection of his visa application.
The Immigration Department’s representative tried to counter this by stating that the Facebook page wasn’t “information” per se, only that it had a direct bearing on the applicant’s credibility.