By Sahar Adatia and Jimmy Singh.
A 26-year-old Afghan immigrant has had the approval for his Australian citizenship revoked after it surfaced that he had used a fake driver licence to pursue a job of becoming a truck driver.
Ali Haidari travelled by boat to Australia in February 2010 and was allowed a permanent protection visa in September of that year.
In November 2014, the Afghan national applied for an Australian citizenship, which was approved in a matter of months.
However, in August 2017, the approval for this was annulled upon the discovery that Mr Haidari sourced a counterfeit Afghan driver’s licence from overseas and used it to obtain an Australian one.
Mr Haidari then went on to use his Australian driver licence to get a job as a truck driver in Queensland.
To make matters worse, he had never actually driven a truck before.
How Information About Mr Haidari’s Fake Driver Licence Emerged
The revelation around Mr Hairari fraudulently obtaining both his driver licences was made during an interview with officers from the now Department of Home Affairs, who were in the process of carrying out an up-to-date assessment of the man’s identity.
Mr Haidari admitted to officers that he had offered money to friends in Pakistan to get him a driver licence, which he then passed on to Australian authorities, who issued him with a Queensland driver licence for heavy vehicles in 2013.
Mr Haidari also confessed to officers that he had never driven trucks before.
Instead, he simply wanted to be able to get a job and hope to avoid the lengthy process of obtaining a learner driver’s licence and then the Ps before moving to the full licence.
“I needed a job,” Mr Haidari told the officers.
Desperate for work, the man added that he applied for jobs once coming out of the detention centre, however all of those required a car and driver licence.
When asked whether his international driver’s licence was genuine, Mr Haidari simply said “no”.
Administrative Appeals Tribunal Dismiss Mr Haidari’s Appeal After Finding Him Not of Good Character
Ultimately, Mr Haidari’s citizenship was cancelled after the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) subsequently terminated his appeal after finding him to be not of good character.
The Tribunal concluded Mr Haidari had “knowingly and deliberately” provided authorities with a fake licence.
“By his deceit, [he] has recklessly presented a danger to other road users, and himself,” AAT member Roger Maguire said.
He also underscored Mr Haidari had a history of side-stepping rules in his process of migrating to Australia, noting that he had journeyed from Afghanistan to Australia via Pakistan, Malaysia and Indonesia “without producing one legitimate passport or travel document”.
“It, therefore, should come as no real surprise that [Mr Haidari] has instigated and arranged the preparation and presentation of another false document,” Mr Maguire said.
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Under NSW law, a person is not permitted to obtain a driver licence by false statements or any misrepresentation or other dishonest means.
The offence is taken seriously, carrying a maximum penalty of $2,200 for a breach according to section 49 Road Transport Act 2013 (NSW).
Section 49 states that a person must not, by a false statement or any misrepresentation or other dishonest means, obtain or attempt to obtain a driver licence or the renewal of a driver licence.
Equally, a person must not, without lawful authority or excuse, possess a driver licence obtained or renewed using those means.
It should also be noted that under section 49, a driver licence obtained or renewed by a false statement or any misrepresentation or other dishonest means is void, and the Authority may alter the NSW driver licence register accordingly.