Australian Immigration Dept says Visa Applicants are not Asked for their Religion

by Ray Clancy on July 30, 2016

in Australia Immigration

Australia’s Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) is trying to defuse the current debate over whether or not Muslim immigrants are discriminated against in visa applications. This comes in the midst of discussions about whether or not Muslims should be welcomed in Australia in the light of terrorism being conducted by ISIS and IS supporters around the world.

Just recently, a local media personality said she would like to see Muslims banned for the time being, while more right wing politicians have been in agreement, resulting in a high profile during and after the election campaign.

customs-boarder-controlWhat’s more is analysis by The Australian newspaper suggests that the government is pursuing a strategy that makes it difficult for large numbers of Muslims from the Middle East to settle in Australia.

However, a spokesperson for the DIBP has denied that this is deliberate and says prospective migrants are not asked what their religion is when applying for a visa.

The analysis of DIBP figures concludes that current migration policy – focused on attracting skilled migrants and those wishing to reunite with families who have already migrated – attracts immigrants from countries such as India and China rather than Muslim countries.

The analysis also says that Islam was once the fastest growing religion in Australia but there are now more Buddhists than Muslims at 2.5 per cent and 2.2 per cent of the population respectively.

James Jupp, an immigration expert at Australian National University, disagrees with the DIBP, saying there are officials and politicians who openly favour other religions – such as Orthodox Christians and Jewish migrants – over Muslims, while Mehmet Ozalp, director of the Islamic Sciences and Research Academy, tells The Australian that it is concerning that there are calls for stopping Muslim immigration.

Now that the general election is over, there are calls for a much more open debate on the future of immigration in Australia, but Immigration Minister Peter Dutton insisted that Australia’s migration programme is non-discriminatory.

‘We don’t focus on religion. We focus on skills,’ he said, adding that the DIBP does not have statistics on religion.

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