Visa risk assessment systems are being strengthened in Australia to make sure that those who seek to move to the country are genuine people who will uphold the nation’s values.
Immigration Minister Peter Dutton, has declared ahead of next week’s Australia Day that people who want to move to Australia must be doing so for the right reasons.
He also revealed that a record number of visas are being cancelled for those who get involved in serious crime and the citizenship revoked of those who obtained it by fraud or deception.
Dutton believes that more should be done to better assess people who seek to become Australian citizens. ‘In this current age, is it enough to satisfy a simple multiple choice test and basic character, security and other checks after a few years’ residence, in order to become a citizen?’ he wrote in an article for a national newspaper.
He suggested that people seeking citizenship should demonstrate their commitment to Australian values through a record of work, education for their children, a good level of English and a record of law abidance and prove themselves fit for citizenship over a longer period of time.
He even suggested that those seeking permanent residency should be asked to take a citizenship like test and another issue for debate should be whether 16 and 17 year old, not just adults, should also be subject to character checks.
‘Our goal should be to ensure that Australia continues to attract people who, regardless of nationality or religion, will embrace Australian values and contribute strongly to our nation. Migration must continue to benefit Australians as well as the migrants themselves,’ Dutton pointed out.
‘This is vital for ensuring enduring public support for the migration programme and its success. And it’s why on Australia Day, we should welcome our newest citizens and celebrate migration as an integral part of our nation’s story of success as much as we should consider how best to ensure that it continues to be so,’ he added.
Australia Day celebrates the nation and its achievements and around 16,000 people are expected to become Australia citizens in a series of ceremonies around the country. Some five million have already done so since the end of the Second World War.
‘The vast majority of people who come here and who make the commitment to our nation by becoming citizens embrace this opportunity. However, a minority come to Australia with little respect for our values but much for our generous welfare and even with intent to do us harm,’ Dutton also pointed out.
‘Within this minority there are those who have become citizens, while others are likely now on a pathway to citizenship. This is not in the best interests of our nation. We face unprecedented security threats from terrorists, extremists and criminals who seek to exploit migration pathways to citizenship for their own ends,’ he explained.
‘The lesson of terrorism here and in Europe is that we must prevent foreign extremists from arriving in the first place and remove them once detected. This effort becomes even more important as temporary migration grows strongly,’ he concluded.