Temporary visa holders in Australia likely to face tighter scrutiny

by Ray Clancy on January 10, 2017

in Immigration Documentation

People with temporary visas, including tourists, in Australia are likely to come under greater scrutiny as it is this arrival stream that is being most exploited by terrorists.

According to Immigration Minister Peter Dutton terrorists exploiting temporary visas pose a ‘rapidly evolving threat’ which means that officials need to crack down on short term migration programmes.

Australian_student_visaHe acknowledged that the majority of people with temporary visas are law abiding and ‘welcome guests’ but there are risks associated with not being vigilant enough.

Indeed, he cited the recent attack by a migrant on a Christmas market in Berlin as an example of what could happen in Australia if the wrong people are admitted to the country.

He also revealed that as a result of extra vigilance a record number of short term visas are being cancelled.

He said that an analysis shows terrorists convicted and serving sentences in Australian jails had taken advantage of the immigration system by using fake passports and spousal visas or by extending their tourist permits.

He has asked immigration officials to ‘hasten the removal of those people who no longer have a lawful basis to be in our country’ either for overstaying their visas or committing criminal offences.

The Government is also spending $100 million to improve visa risk assessment checks to try to prevent potential terrorists even getting into the country and there are plans to strengthen the kind of questions they are asked.

‘The overwhelming majority of temporary entrants are law-abiding and welcome guests. But terrorist attacks in Europe and here show that we face significant threats from extremists and criminals who exploit temporary ¬migration pathways. This is a rapidly evolving threat to our nation’s security,’ Dutton said.

There have also been discussions at a lower level about removing social security payments from people with temporary visas, something that is also under consideration in other countries around the world including the UK where the visa system is set to change dramatically when the country formally leaves the European Union within the next two years.

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