I am going to Australia this year and I have applied for my visa. There is a question about criminal convictions and I have said Yes. Quite simply because I was working back in 1994 and at the time it was only part time so the benefits office new about this so I was entitled to a reduced amount of benefits. There where stipulations about the amount of hours you could work and still get benefits. A bit like working tax credit is today. My boss asked me to do some over time informing me that if I didn't then I would no longer have a job. I agreed but made it clear that I would have to do reduced overs the following week, so that it would balance with the benefits agency. He didn't do as he promised and my wage slips showed that I worked more hours and got more money than I was entitled to. I was stupid enough to help him out a few times and I ended up getting into trouble with the benefits agency. I was taken to court and fined £150 for benefit fraud. I wasn't given a jail sentence but it just wont go away. I have worked with children and the elderly and I still have to keep declaring it, It is so embarrassing as apart from being naive and trying to help my boss out in order to keep my job, I hadn't in my eyes done anything wrong.
I am sure on the visa application where it asked about criminal convictions I said, yes. But now I have printed my visa it says on it 8528-no criminal convictions. When you go to Australia you also need to fill in a immi card and one of the questions on there is "have you any criminal convictions". So I have gone along to my local police station today to see about getting these benefit fraud convictions lifted. I don't see why not as I never went to jail. But the police said that they cant be lifted. When I asked about declaring them to go to Australia they said, "I would have to declare them". I have not found out that the 8528 code on my visa application relates to "the visa holder cannot have any criminal convictions, for which the sentence (whether served or not) is for a total period of 12 months or more, at the time of travel to, and entry into Australia".
I am so confused! I have something called sentence accumulated on my DBS certificate. But it doesn't say how long the accumulated sentence was for.
I am going to ring the Australian embassy in London tomorrow and see if I can get the bottom of this.
Can anybody who has had a similar experience please advise.