He was stopped at an airport without explanation, held back from finding work and denied credit cards - all on a misunderstanding that has haunted him for six years.
As Baljeet Singh Ghotra tried to settle into Australia and pursue his education and career, the criminal history and debt of another man has blocked him.
Errors in his personal files started a recurring nightmare, as a case of mistaken identity misled government agencies to believe the migrant was a convicted fraudster.
Mr Ghotra had not visited Australia for three years before he moved from India to begin his studies at the University of Canberra in 2013.
So it didn't make sense when an unpaid bill in Australia, dated from 2011, appeared on his records when he applied for a credit card after arriving.
Mr Ghotra, then simply called Baljeet Singh, soon learnt the credit history of another man sharing his name and birth date had ended up in his own file.
The same mix-up, repeated across police agencies, has followed him at every major step as he's tried settling into Australia.
A change of name in late 2013, adding the surname Ghotra, did little to help.
His Australian citizenship application in 2018 hit a barrier when a national police check wrongly showed he was in jail for fraud.
Mr Ghotra, who lives in Canberra's north, found himself repeating the same story as he navigated agencies that held records wrongly showing he had a criminal history.
"It's frustrating as you cannot focus on other things, because you have family business here as well, you have other things going on at the same time and you cannot socialise having these issues in your mind, having this struggle," he said.
"You're always thinking, 'if I try to make a step towards my future, it always pushes you back'.
"Saying the same story once or twice or three times, fair enough. If you have to say the same story 100 times, you definitely get agitated."
Mr Ghotra said Australian Border Force also stopped him at Sydney Airport before he boarded a flight to New Delhi for his wedding in 2017, and searched his belongings before letting him go. He was never told why, but he believes it was another case of mistaken identity. Border Force officials had a photo and personal details of another man with the same name, he said.
Credit reporting agency Veda corrected his recordafter he finished his studies and challenged it in 2016. The company admitted it had confused his history with another person's sharing similar "identity details".
He only gained citizenship in May 2018 after a Sydney-based police officer told the Home Affairs Department he was not identical with the Baljeet Singh jailed for fraud.
Equifax, which bought Veda in 2016, denied it confused the credit records of people sharing the same name and date of birth. However it said errors occurred "in a small number of instances", noting the "volume of credit information that credit reporting bodies handle".
"If there are mistakes on a consumer's credit report, Equifax has strict timelines to respond," a spokeswoman said.
"If consumers are not satisfied with our findings, there are steps they can take such as requesting a re-investigation, lodging a complaint with Equifax or lodging a complaint with an external dispute resolution scheme."
Equifax's spokeswoman said it responded to correction requests by contacting credit providers, reviewing their responses and making any needed changes to credit reports.
A RECURRING NIGHTMARE
Correcting Mr Ghotra's police records was more complicated.
He lodged a dispute last year with the Australian Federal Police, which sent him a new police check document listing no offences.
The crimes wrongly listed on his record still showed in a national police check in February this year, despite his previous efforts to have them removed.
The error dogged him when his wife applied for a partner's visa last year, Mr Ghotra said. It also halted his application for a job at the Home Affairs Department requiring security clearance.
OzVetting, a company contracted to conduct checks on people applying for security clearances, told him in January he would need to dispute the crimes still listed on his record with NSW Police.
You're always thinking, 'if I try to make a step towards my future, it always pushes you back'.Baljeet Singh Ghotra
When Mr Ghotra disputed his records with NSW Police, it left him confused in February when it said he should lodge the matter with the AFP.
The AFP told him in May it didn't hold the records and had not disclosed them to other agencies.
NSW Police confirmed later it had found he wasn't identical to the man with the criminal record, after it compared their fingerprints.
A police officer said NSW Police had recorded a warning in its system saying the two men weren't the same.
He received security clearance in June, but the job opportunity depending on the approval appears to have passed.
Mr Ghotra said his attempts to fix the errors were frustrating.
"While dealing with the different agencies I felt that they tried to avoid the situation and not help," he said.
"There wasn't any transparency in the process, how they deal with situations like that. Fair enough they haven't had any issues like this, but even speaking to a few people, they said since the people are coming into the country, they are facing the same issues.
"Whenever you explain to other people like your friends or family, they always get frustrated as well. Sometimes they maybe laugh about that, that living in Australia and facing this kind of issue is always so painful," Mr Ghotra said.
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A NSW Police spokeswoman said it had acted on and resolved Mr Ghotra's case.
NSW Police and the AFP use different systems to store criminal records, but all police agencies conduct searches through systems maintained by the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission.
A NSW Police spokeswoman said anyone disputing their criminal record must contact the accredited body or police agency that submitted the national police check.
"The accredited body or police agency will lodge the individual's dispute into a national database for further investigation," she said.
"The police agency/agencies responsible for the release of information on the national police check will investigate the dispute and determine an appropriate outcome."
The agency lodging the dispute was also responsible for advising the complainant of the result.
Mr Ghotra, who has found work at another public sector agency, said he was trying to help others with similar problems.
"After having these issues for six years, I always wanted to say nobody else can go through what I have been through," he said.