Generally speaking, holders of permanent residency visas in Australia have felt comparatively safe living in the country without any fear of being asked to leave for any reason.
Even though slow to take effect when the Migration Act was amended in 2013 it removed the right for permanent residents to unlimited freedom in the country. The first restriction was imposed on those who had committed an offense which attracted a 12 month jail sentence (or greater), even if not even a day was ever spent in jail and the incident happened years ago.
Solicitors have reported dealing with clients whose convictions were ages old and who had made significant contributions to Australia. They were so well established in Australia that they had both children and grandchildren born in the country and were even full-time carers for elderly relatives.
Is cancelling a permanent residency visa constitutional?
The activity taking place recently in the Australian Department of Immigration and Border Protection is raising a number of constitutional issues concerning how Australia is treating its residents and how no consideration is being given to keep families together. Australia is a signatory to the Hague Convention, an international treaty which emphasises the importance of ensuring that families aren’t separated when it comes to migration or deportation issues.
Restorative practices, as a means of handling criminality, aren’t working in Australia if criminals once they have completed their punishment are being deported up to 20 years later. This has been seen as a serious challenge to the justice system in the country.
In just 12 months 600 permanent residency visas have been cancelled
Peter Dutton, the Minister for the Department of Immigration and Border Protection, seems to be wielding his power and cancelling visas under section 501 of the Migration Act, without considering the impact on families left behind in Australia, often without a breadwinner.
The unprecedented number of visa cancellations hasn’t been seen in Australia since WW2. A similar measure was used against German and Japanese born residents of Australia. 2016 never experienced any war involving Australia, so why are such strict measures being taken?
It appears that the new legislation has given the minister the right to revoke any visas belonging to non-residents who have been in prison for 12 or more months while in the country. Time in jail is cumulative, which means even if a person has spent a few shorts spells in jail for different types of offences, they are added and if they exceed 12 months or more deportation is possible. Some of the offences used have included drinking and driving and driving while suspended.
In the previous financial year nearly 600 people had visas cancelled for a number of different reasons including road rage or driving on a licence that has been suspended. 60 percent of these
Man had to leave family behind following deportation
An Australian man originally born in Chile was deported when he violated his residence visa conditions. The man had lived in Australia since the age of one year and was forced back to his country of birth where he couldn’t speak the language and had no job as well as leaving his partner and family behind. Under this new legislation, the Minister is not required to consider the deportee’s family when making a deportation decision.
Zero tolerance is Dutton’s approach
Despite these types of incidences Dutton is making a tough stand on visa cancellations and he considers even permanent residents are not immune from this, whatever their family and economic situation is in Australia.