Visiting Australia and then starting your own business when you have a criminal record can seem challenging, but not impossible.
Discriminating people based on their criminal history is not legal, but in everyday life you’ll find that there may be hurdles you need to overcome before you can put your past behind you.
So, how about opening your own business in the capital city of Australia – the Australian Capital Territory (ACT)? Is it doable? Yes, you can do that and here’s what you need to know about it.
Can you be a business owner with a criminal record in the ACT?
Technically, there’s nothing stopping you from going into business on your own, but that still depends on the type of offences you have on your record.
Let’s say you have a conviction for a minor offence on your national police check ACT, something like drunk driving or public disturbance, or spraying graffiti on the school walls back when you were a teenager. Such offences are unlikely to prevent you from becoming a successful businessman.
On the other hand, let’s assume you were convicted of fraudulent bankruptcy. No one will grant you a licence to open a new business any time soon.
If you were convicted of fraud, theft or embezzlement things are going to be pretty difficult for you. The problem here is not about opening your own business. The problem is getting the money to finance your operation, and getting insurance. If you have a criminal record for an offence having to do with money, you’ll have a hard time getting financing or insurance, and you probably fail in your attempt to go into business on your own.
Another important thing is when those offences were committed. As you probably know each Australian state and territory uses a spent convictions scheme. Minor offences committed as an adult will become spent after a waiting period of 10 years. ACT Law mandates that spent convictions will not be disclosed in a background check. This makes it much easier to start your own business.
How do you know what’s on your criminal record?
This is important especially if the offences you were found guilty of are well in the past. To see what convictions are still in your record and which of them have become spent, all you have to do is order a background check on yourself.
When you first visit Australia, many people start off with an easy to learn business like operating a cleaning service, running a cafe or owning a taxi in the ACT. Some businesses like owning a taxi will require your criminal offences to be very minor else you will not get accreditation.
When you apply for a background check to obtain employment in a business, every disclosable offence will be there on your criminal history and you can now evaluate your chances of going into business.
If more than 10 years have passed, your criminal record will be perfectly clean and there’s nothing to stop you. You can start with the paperwork and should anyone ask you whether you were ever convicted of a crime, you can say no. That’s the law. If it’s no longer on your record it doesn’t exist anymore.