1 Mar 2017

Concerns over Minister seeking greater powers to review visas

A new bill proposed by the Australian Government could allow Immigration Minister, Peter Dutton the power to require certain groups of immigrants to revalidate their visa if he deems it to be in the public’s interest to do so.

The proposed bill would allow the Minister to refuse to revalidate a person’s visa where there is ‘adverse information’ about the person. Part of the issue lies in the fact that the term ‘adverse information’ is not defined in the present version of the bill, therefore the Minister would be able to interpret the term very broadly.

Concerns over the implications for migrants

The Labor government initially supported the idea of revalidating visas last year to enable the introduction of the 10-year re-entry visa for Chinese nationals. However, Labor now accuses Mr Dutton for seeking ‘Trump-like’ powers amid concerns that the proposed new laws could be used to exclude entire groups of people from migrating to Australia based on their religion or nationality.

Mr Dutton defended the bill, saying the increased ministerial powers would only be used in ‘rare circumstances’, for example in situations “where there has been an assessment of increased risk to the Australian community resulting from a health, security or other incident in a particular location, and the Minister considers it is in the public interest to act quickly.”

“If there was an ebola crisis, a bird flu crisis, if there was another Tiananmen Square, for example, and we saw people that started to come in mass numbers, then there is the ability… for us to put in place a suspension until we can conduct an orderly migration process,“ Mr Dutton said.

Will the bill be passed?

The bill has been passed by the Lower House of parliament and now goes before the Senate. The Senate Crossbench consists of both Labor and Liberal parliament members, and there will be opportunities to dispute the bill in the Upper House.

See the full proposed bill here or read our post on the Trump effect on interest in migrating to Australia.



9 News

ABC News

Migration Alliance

Sheila Woods

Posted by: Sheila Woods

A very experienced migration agent, Sheila has always been fascinated by this field. Her university degree thesis was on Australia’s post-war immigration history (and it earned her first-class honours).

Filed in: Visas


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