Min­is­ter can­celling more visas for Su­danese

The Weekend Australian - - THE NATION - MARK SCHLIEBS

Su­danese cit­i­zens are in­creas­ingly hav­ing their visas can­celled through min­is­te­rial dis­cre­tion, but are not among the top 10 na­tion­al­i­ties to be re­moved from Aus­tralia.

Fig­ures from De­part­ment of Home Af­fairs show min­is­te­rial dis­cre­tion to can­cel a visa on char­ac­ter grounds was used 56 times last fi­nan­cial year, and a fur­ther eight times in the three months to Sep­tem­ber 30.

Although New Zealand and Bri­tish na­tion­als dom­i­nated the fig­ures — ac­count­ing for at least 30 can­cel­la­tions since July 2017 — peo­ple from Su­dan, Tonga and Le­banon were among the top five most com­mon na­tion­al­i­ties to have had visas can­celled by a Coali­tion min­is­ter.

No can­cel­la­tions via min­is­te­rial dis­cre­tion were listed for peo­ple from Su­dan in the fig­ures for 2015-16 or 2016-17, pro­vided in re­sponse to a ques­tion on no­tice aris­ing from Sen­ate es­ti­mates. There were fewer than five last year and in the first three months of this fi­nan­cial year — enough to place Su­dan among the top five.

These can­cel­la­tions are sep­a­rate to the manda­tory can­cel­la­tion of visas, which are trig­gered by se­ri­ous crim­i­nal records where peo­ple have been sen­tenced to more than a year in prison.

The de­part­ment last month re­vealed that for can­cel­la­tions un­der both the au­to­matic and dis­cre­tionary pow­ers last fi­nan­cial year, 620 were for New Zealan­ders, 124 for Bri­tons, 55 for Viet­namese and 31 were for Su­danese.

Un­der the Mi­gra­tion Act, a visa “must” be can­celled if a min­is­ter is “sat­is­fied” that a per­son has failed the char­ac­ter test. But a visa “may” be can­celled if the min­is­ter “rea­son­ably sus­pects that the per­son does not pass the char­ac­ter test”.

Im­mi­gra­tion Min­is­ter David Cole­man this week said there would be “no tol­er­ance for those who put Aus­tralians in dan­ger”.

“For­eign na­tion­als who think they can flout our laws and harm Aus­tralian cit­i­zens should ex­pect to have their visa can­celled,” Mr Cole­man said.

Many have sought to over­turn their can­cel­la­tions, and do not im­me­di­ately leave Aus­tralia.

When it comes to ac­tu­ally re­mov­ing for­eign­ers from Aus­tralia, New Zealan­ders and Bri­tons ac­counted for 126 of the 187 peo­ple to be kicked out in the three months to Sep­tem­ber 30, af­ter hav­ing visas can­celled on char­ac­ter grounds.

Sim­i­larly, 391 New Zealan­ders and 56 Bri­tish na­tion­als were re­moved from Aus­tralia last fi­nan­cial year, with peo­ple from Viet­nam, Fiji, In­dia, China, Tonga, the US, The Philip­pines and Ire­land also among the 10 most com­mon na­tion­al­i­ties to leave.

The Aus­tralian this week re­vealed 100 of more than 800 visas can­celled last year in­volved peo­ple con­victed of child-sex of­fences or in­volve­ment in child ex­ploita­tion.

An­other 53 visas were can­celled for do­mes­tic vi­o­lence and 34 over rapes and sex­ual as­saults, while 125 were due to as­sault of­fences.

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