Report outlines changes to Australian immigration programmes

by Ray Clancy on October 18, 2016

in Australia Immigration

Changes introduced by the Department of Immigration in Australia are aimed at promoting the country’s prosperity as well as introducing more efficiencies, according to a new report.

In a document for the Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee, the chiefs of the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) and the Australian Border Force, outline their new business model and sum up change so far.

Sydney-Opera-HouseThey point out that visa reform is essential to address the complexity of the current visa framework and modernise infrastructure and business practices for future growth.

The document gives details of new programmes including the simplified student visa framework (SSVF), which was introduced in July 2016 and says it is designed to ensure Australia’s student visa programme remains internationally competitive while encouraging sustainable growth.

‘The SSVF simplifies the visa application process for genuine students, reduces red tape for business, and bolsters immigration integrity,’ the report adds.

It also mentions the new entrepreneur visa introduced in September and explains that it has amended the points test for skilled migration while by the end of 2016, the DIBP will have implemented a number of new and innovative tourist visa products.

New programmes include a simplified visa programme for Chinese visitors and a 10-year visa that will allow multiple entries and a three-month stay. The new visa will cost $1,000 and be introduced on a pilot basis.

The report also points out that new international flights into Canberra have now begun with state of the art security and management. For the first time in the history of international airport design in Australia, the Canberra terminal’s operational areas have been designed to be efficient and ready for future innovations and technology.

Across Australia the roll-out of departures SmartGates has been successfully completed with 86 installed and as of the beginning of the beginning of October more than 12.1 million travellers have self processed through SmartGates.

The report explains that all travellers, irrespective of nationality and whether they hold an ePassport, are able to use the SmartGates. The technology strengthens capabilities to detect fraudulent travellers through facial biometrics, improves passenger facilitation given escalating traveller volumes, and frees-up ABF officers to focus on intervention and assessment activities.

The report also points out that an effective immigration compliance and enforcement capability is required to prevent, deter and manage the small minority of individuals who either do not comply with their visa conditions, or pose certain risks.

It reveals that in 2015/2016 some 15,000 unlawful people were detected, mostly non-citizens and people overstaying their visas, including 1,900 illegal workers. Of these more than 70% had voluntarily approached the DIBP to resolve their immigration status.

During the period more than 400 illegal worker warning notices were issued and officials cancelled more than 60,000 visas for a variety of reasons. Since legislative changes in December 2014, and up to 30 June 2016, some 1,530 non-citizens have had their visas cancelled and 488 have been refused a visa.

‘The Department, and within it the ABF, are contending with unprecedented and escalating trade and traveller volumes as a result of a shifting global trend towards short term visitation, temporary migration and fast moving goods,’ the report says.

‘Over the next 12 months, we will continue to be challenged by an increasing operational tempo in this regard. The Department we are building today is one with a view to Australia’s future. We will continue to play a fundamental role in facilitating and leveraging off the opportunities of globalisation to promote Australia’s economic and social prosperity, and at the same time, help protect the nation and the Australian community,’ it concludes.

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