Aus­tralia tough­ens up visa rules for im­mi­grants

7 Days in Dubai - - GLOBAL NEWS -

Aus­tralia has an­nounced plans to ratchet up its tough pol­icy against refugees by ban­ning any asy­lum seeker who at­tempts to reach its shores by boat from ever visit­ing the coun­try.

A pre­vi­ous gov­ern­ment in­tro­duced a pol­icy on July 19, 2013, ban­ning refugees who ar­rive by boat from In­done­sian ports af­ter that date from ever be­ing re­set­tled in Aus­tralia.

Un­der leg­is­la­tion to be in­tro­duced to Par­lia­ment next week, thou­sands of asy­lum seek­ers who have re­turned to their home­lands in the Mid­dle East, Africa and Asia would be banned for life from ever trav­el­ling to Aus­tralia as tourists, to do busi­ness or as an Aus­tralian’s spouse, Prime Min­is­ter Mal­colm Turn­bull said.

“You need the clear­est of clear mes- sages,” Turn­bull told re­porters. “This is a bat­tle of will be­tween the Aus­tralian peo­ple, rep­re­sented by their gov­ern­ment, and these crim­i­nal gangs of peo­ple smug­glers. You should not un­der es­ti­mate the scale of the threat.”

Aus­tralia has paid the poor Pa­cific na­tions of Nauru and Pa­pua New Guinea to keep asy­lum seek­ers in camps since the 2013 pol­icy came into force.

The new pol­icy would ap­ply to all asy­lum seek­ers who have at­tempted to reach Aus­tralia since July 19, 2013.

Im­mi­gra­tion Min­is­ter Peter Dut­ton said asy­lum seeker chil­dren would be ex­empt from the visa ban and he would have dis­cre­tion to make ex­cep­tions for adults in cases where to do so was in the public in­ter­est.

Daniel Webb, di­rec­tor of le­gal ad­vo­cacy at the Hu­man Rights Law Cen­tre, said the change would per­ma­nently sep­a­rate fam­i­lies and “en­trench the limbo” for asy­lum seek­ers and refugees in camps.

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