27 September 2023

New visa rules set eyes on offenders

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The Minister for Immigration, Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs has announced new provisions for overseas citizens seeking or holding Australian visas, making it harder for non-citizen sex offenders, violent thugs and those who commit violence against women to enter the country.

The Minister, David Coleman said the Migration Amendment (Strengthening the Character Test) Bill 2018 would introduce a list of designated offences providing clear and objective grounds for the consideration of visa refusal or cancellation.

Mr Coleman said designated offences must carry a two year or more maximum jail sentence and include offences involving violence, sexual assault, domestic abuse and the use or possession of weapons.

“The Bill acknowledges the serious nature of these offences, and the long lasting impact they have on the victim and the broader community,” Mr Coleman said.

“Entering or remaining in Australia is a privilege and it is expected that non-citizens are, and have been, law-abiding.”

He said the Bill complemented the existing provisions in the character test, including the mandatory cancellation powers which provide that a person’s visa must be cancelled if they had been sentenced to 12 months or more in prison.

“While the existing provisions have been effective, the 12-month sentence threshold does not always capture people guilty of all serious crimes committed in Australia and overseas,” Mr Coleman said.

“Unlike the mandatory cancellation framework, the new provisions will not require that the person be sentenced to a custodial sentence of more than 12 months.”

He said a conviction was sufficient grounds to consider cancellation as long as the offence carried a maximum sentence of two or more years’ imprisonment.

He said the amendments to the Migration Act 1958 would come into effect one day after the Bill receives Royal Assent from the Governor-General.

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