law

Australian migration agents call for review of migration laws

by Ray Clancy on March 8, 2016

in Australia Immigration

Migration agents in Australia are calling upon the Government to establish an independent review of the country’s migration laws immediately to make sure they are not impinging on people’s rights and freedoms.

According to Angela Julian-Armitage, national president of the Migration Institute of Australia and herself a registered migration agent, there needs to be a fit response to the recently published final report from the Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) on freedoms and encroachments by Commonwealth Laws.

The report says that many elements of the current Migration Act may limit people’s traditional rights and freedoms and should be reviewed and justified.

australian government

The ALRC has identified a range of Commonwealth laws that may warrant further consideration or review, providing a road map for future work to ensure that encroachments on rights, freedoms and privileges are avoided or appropriately justified.

“Important rights and freedoms should only be interfered with reluctantly, when truly necessary. This report identifies and critically examines laws that limit rights, and will inform decisions about whether such laws might be amended or repealed,” said ALRC president Rosalind Croucher who was also the commissioner in charge of the inquiry.

She added that the report provides a significant contribution to a broader discussion and debate about protecting rights in democratic societies.

“There must be an acceptable balance between the role of Australia’s migration laws in properly regulating the entry and exit of people to Australia and the legal rights of people. In a time of increased threats to national security, there is a danger that legislation to protect Australia is gradually moving beyond acceptable limits,” said Julian-Armitage.

She explained that the Migration Institute of Australia would like to see a re-examination of laws as outlined in the inquiries report including on limitations on freedom of association, denial of procedural fairness, inappropriate or unjustified retrospective laws, infringement of freedom of movement and restriction of access to judicial review of certain migration decisions.

“There must be an acceptable balance between the role of Australia’s migration laws in properly regulating the entry and exit of people to Australia and the legal rights of people. In a time of increased threats to national security, there is a danger that legislation to protect Australia is gradually moving beyond acceptable limits,” she said.

Julian-Armitage said that the retrospective conversion of permanent visa applications to temporary visa applications, which stops people from applying for permanent residency, is one example of restricting a person’s freedoms.

“These types of changes to our laws can have serious adverse consequences for the people affected and must be satisfactorily justified,” she added.

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