The Department of Home Affairs has released its 2017-18 Annual Report.

The Department of Home Affairs has released its 2017-18 Annual Report.
The report contains an extensive amount of material across the six departments and authorities that make up the Department of Home Affairs. Interesting highlights include:
Visas
Permanent visa outcomes
 12% decrease overall in the number of permanent migration program numbers in the last financial year
 10.5.5% drop in skilled stream visas granted since July 2016
 17% drop in family stream visas granted since July 2016

Temporary visas granted
 An increase of 5.5% in visitor visas granted
 10% increase in student visa granted
 30.5% drop in temporary work skilled (SC 457) visas granted

Citizenship
 A 52% drop in the number of Australian citizenship conferrals

Compliance
 99% of temporary entrants maintained their lawful immigration status
 Visa cancellation number relatively stable at 57,440
 Non-humanitarian visa refusals increased by 26%

Click on the below link for more information:

https://www.homeaffairs.gov.au/about/reports-publications/reports/annual/annual-report-2017-18

Thousands more foreign thugs and sex offenders to be kicked out of Australia under new visa crackdown

Thousands more foreign thugs and sex offenders to be kicked out of Australia under new visa crackdown

-More foreign-born sex offenders and thugs will be deported under new laws
-The law means that anyone who commits a crime can have their visa canceled
-Currently, the most common trigger for cancellation is 12 months jail time
-The new law will now apply to those who are sentenced to less than 12 months

Thousands of foreign thugs and sex offenders are set to be kicked out of Australia under tougher new visa-cancelling and deportation laws.

The new legislation, which could be introduced by the Morrison Government as early as this week, will apply to more criminals than the previous law.

Currently, non-citizens can have their visas cancelled if they’re found guilty of a serious crime and jailed for 12 months or more, but the new law will change that.

Under the new law, anyone found guilty of an offence for which they can be jailed for two years or more – even if they escape a jail term – can have their visa cancelled.

This tougher new visa-scrapping legislation also applies to anyone – including children – who has been found guilty of a crime and jailed for less than 12 months.

Former Victoria Police officer and now chairman of the Federal Joint Standing Committee on Migration, Jason Wood told the Herald Sun the change is necessary.

The committee chairman previously worked closely with Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton in the months before he finished up as Immigration Minister.

He said far too many thugs and offenders of gang-related crimes were evading jail time and visa cancellation due to the current 12 month minimum sentence law.

Mr Wood said a ‘no age’ restriction clause was also necessary in the revamped legislation because too many of those committing the crimes were aged under 18.

The new law will cover sex offences, domestic violence, breaching an apprehended violence order, car-jackings, home invasions and possession of dangerous weapons.

‘Under the new legislation …the offender’s visa being able to be cancelled by the immigration minister, or a delegate for the minister from the Immigration Department — whether or not they get sentenced to jail,’ he said.

Mr Wood believes if a migrant is found guilty of a serious crime ‘most Australians would want that person sent back to where they came from’.

He said cancelling someone’s visa shouldn’t be determined on their age or whether they are jailed for a minimum 12-month period or more.

‘It’s about protecting Australians from violent and sexual offenders who aren’t Australians,’ he said.

The committee chairman said despite Labor denying there is a gang issue in Victoria, the law was motivated by the disproportionate level of foreign born gang crimes.

Information provided by the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission revealed only six of the 60 Apex gang members in Victoria were born in Australia, he said.

Mr Wood said the new legislation will not ‘discriminate between thugs’, but rather send a powerful message that violence and crime will not be tolerated.

Sudanese-born Isaac Gatkuoth, who was found guilty of car-jacking at gunpoint, has already had his visa revoked – but the tougher law will target more crooks.

Another offender to have his visa cancelled was Iranian refugee Behzad Bashiri.

Bashiri was eventually deported after he threatened to commit terrorist offences after a judge gave him a light sentence for threatening to burn down a building.

Mr Wood said the new legislation would prevent judges and magistrates from giving lenient sentences that prevent offenders from having their visa’s cancelled.

He said those who are found guilty under the new law wouldn’t automatically be deported and could still appeal the decision.

‘We need to send a powerful message to the people that we allow into Australia that being here is a privilege and that privilege can and will be removed if they commit serious offences here,’ he said.

‘Plan for a plan’ panned as McGowan pitches WA to foreign students

‘Plan for a plan’ panned as McGowan pitches WA to foreign students

The WA government will spend $2 million on a new international education strategy and expand its graduate migration scheme in an attempt to turn around a collapse in the numbers of foreign students coming to the state.

Premier Mark McGowan said the government would focus on marketing WA as an “international education destination” while adding dozens of jobs to the skilled migration list to allow more foreign students with degrees to stay in WA.

But Opposition Leader Mike Nahan said the 32-page strategy lacked the funding and vision to increase the state’s share of the lucrative international student market and labelled the document a “$2 million plan for a plan”.

In August the government came under fire when the federal Department of Education revealed there were 8.2 per cent fewer overseas students commencing studies this year in WA, the only state to record a decline.

“Our new strategy sends a message to the world we are open for business as a world-class international education destination,” Mr McGowan said.

“We welcome international students, their families and friends.
“Government and industry are now working together on a range of actions — guided by the strategy — to put Perth on the map as an education destination.”

Dr Nahan said the strategy lacked detail and had no specific policy commitments that would translate into more students.

“Committing $2 million over five years is insufficient from the McGowan government, particularly when there is a significant return on investment for every student that comes to WA to study,” he said.

“The McGowan government is putting as much money into attracting international students as they are towards a 25-metre indoor pool and clubrooms in the marginal seat of Collie.

“That shows the regard the McGowan government has for attracting international students and the value they bring to the economy.”
Graduates must study in WA for two years to be eligible for the migration scheme, which contains some jobs available only to students qualifying with master’s and doctorate degrees.

But Education Minister Sue Ellery said the strategy would boost numbers.

“Perth offers the truly authentic Australian education experience, and I am confident the state’s investment in international education and the new International Education Strategy will provide a foundation for significant growth in the future,” she said.

The 2018 graduate migration occupation list includes spots for foreign graduates in professions such as teaching, medicine and law, but also less common jobs such as “Caravan Park and Camping Ground Manager” and “Dance Teacher”.

After coming to government in 2017, Mr McGowan reduced the number of occupations on the migration list from 178 to 18, according to the opposition.

Opposition tourism spokeswoman Libby Mettam the government was sending a message to international students to bypass Perth.

“The McGowan Government’s decision to drastically reduce the WA skilled migration list has cost the WA economy hundreds of millions of dollars in lost student enrolments and associated tourist visits,” she said.

“Every other state has been capitalising on the $20 billion international student industry, while the McGowan Government has spent the past 18 months undermining it in WA.”

Visa rejected after man told his wife is his sister

Visa rejected after man told his wife is his sister

All Daniel Tadese wants is to be with his wife and child.

But as his son Natnael prepares to mark his fourth birthday next week, there is no end in sight to the bureaucratic nightmare that has torn the family apart.

Mr Tadese, 48, is an Australian citizen of Ethiopian descent who has been living in Melbourne since 2007.

Immigration officials accept that the West Footscray man is the father of Natnael and have accordingly granted the child citizenship by descent.

Yet they have refused to grant Mr Tadese’s wife, Genet Abebe, a partner visa, solely on the basis of DNA testing undertaken in 2012.

The testing suggested the statistical likelihood of the couple being biological half-siblings, compared to unrelated individuals, is 66 to 1.

While Ms Abebe was pregnant with Natnael in 2014 the then Department of Immigration struck out her visa application, arguing the DNA results constitute ‘moderately strong’ evidence that the pair share the same mother.

Speaking through an interpreter, Mr Tadese maintains that this is impossible as their families live in different parts of Ethiopia and had never met before their marriage.

“I was really shocked, there is no relation whatsoever. We met through her aunty who lives in Melbourne, who I met through the church,” he said.

“We started talking over the phone for a few months, then I went back to Ethiopia and we met personally and really liked each other.

“So we had the wedding there and I came back here and started the process for her visa.”

Mr Tadese said more than 200 guests attended the wedding ceremony in Addis Ababa in 2012 and that the marriage is accepted under Ethiopian law.

He points out that the Ethiopian Orthodox church, which performed the marriage, does not allow half-siblings to marry.

DNA testing is not a standard requirement of partner visa applications, yet may be requested if the applicant and sponsor are suspected of being siblings.

The 2012 tests were carried out by a company called Genetic Technologies, which has since been taken over by Genomic Diagnostics.

Genomic Diagnostics business manager Brett Kennedy said the company cannot comment on testing by a company that was not part of its group at the time.

Mr Tadese said that he had so far racked up more than $20,000 in legal fees challenging the Department’s decision.

The Administrative Appeals Tribunal last year affirmed the visa refusal, prompting Mr Tadese to make a final appeal to the Federal Circuit Court, where he has been waiting for more than a year for a hearing date.

He said because DNA testing can’t provide a higher degree of certainty, the court should consider a wider range of supporting evidence.

That view is backed by Monash University senior lecturer Dr Maria O’Sullivan, who said she was unaware of any of precedent cases in Australia.

“I think the authorities should be looking at matters other than just DNA, as there is a slight chance that the test is incorrect.”

The saga has now stretched on for more than six years, taking a heavy toll on Mr Tadese’s finances and mental health.

The Uber driver has been diagnosed with depression and said his phone conversations with his wife and son inevitably end in tears.

“I haven’t seen them for more than a year, I’m worried about my son growing up without really knowing me,” Mr Tadese said.

“Every single time I call he asks ‘when are we coming?’. It’s so heartbreaking to hear that.

“I’m on my own, I feel lost and I just don’t know what to do.”

A spokesperson from the Department of Home Affairs said the department did not comment on individual cases for privacy reasons.

The spokesperson said although foreign marriages recognised under local civil law would generally be recognised in Australia, a visa applicant and sponsor being siblings would void the marriage in Australia under the Marriage Act.

“An application for a partner visa cannot be approved on spouse grounds if the Department is not satisfied the relationship is valid under the Marriage Act.”

 

 

Minister defends benefits of immigration ahead of planned changes to skilled intake

Minister defends benefits of immigration ahead of planned changes to skilled intake

The Morrison government is flagging a change to skilled migration to maximise the gains for employers and the economy, as it claims a long-term boost worth $9.7 billion from the arrival of new migrants every year.

Immigration Minister David Coleman will make the case for strong migration in a major speech on Friday that signals the government’s reform plan while defending the annual intake against critics who want radical cuts.

The policy speech puts Australians on notice to expect extensive changes to the regional migration program as well as a preference for skilled workers who are sponsored by employers rather than those who seek to arrive on their own.

Mr Coleman will also caution against demands for cuts to more than 500,000 overseas students now studying in Australia, noting the education sector now earns four times as much export revenue as beef.

“Our nation’s history is one of immigration, and we should be proud of it,” Mr Coleman says in a draft of the speech to be made on Friday.

“Every town, every suburb, every sporting club, every church in our nation has immigration success stories. We should celebrate these successes.”

The remarks are a contrast with the calls for lower migration from Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton before the August leadership spill that installed Scott Morrison as Prime Minister and led to a cabinet reshuffle in which Mr Coleman gained key parts of Mr Dutton’s portfolio.

“There is no question that our economy would be weaker, and our living standards lower, if we had not embraced immigration,” Mr Coleman says in the speech to the Migration Institute of Australia.

Australia gains a “net fiscal benefit” worth $9.7 billion over five decades from the migrant intake in just one year, according to a Deloitte Access Economics analysis of the 2014-15 cohort.

“By adding workers, migration offsets the impacts of an aging population and helps enable us to pay for the essential services we all need,” Mr Coleman says.

“Not all elements of the skilled programme are equal. The best results in the programme come from employer-sponsored applicants.

“There is an opportunity to increase the focus here, leading to direct and substantial economic benefits.”

The comments prepare the ground for changes to favour those who are sponsored by employers because they add more to the economy.

As well, Mr Coleman emphasises the advantage of encouraging younger migrants because taxpayers have to cover the cost of those who are closer to retirement age.

“The best economic results generally come from migrants who are skilled and young. Our policies should reflect that fact,” he says.

On foreign students, Mr Coleman notes that education services generated $30 billion in export revenue last year, four times as much as beef and five times as much as wheat.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has warned about the 1.6 million visitors to Australia with work rights, a group that includes students, and Labor employment spokesman Brendan O’Connor has raised the idea of a cap on the program.

Mr Coleman says that over 230,000 international visitors came to Australia to visit an international student last year, spending $994 million.

“Around 56,000 international visitors came to Australia to attend an overseas student graduation in 2014, contributing $208 million to the economy,” he says.

“Students support high skill, high wage jobs in the education sector – a big positive for our economy.”

PM eyes plan to encourage international students to study at regional unis

PM eyes plan to encourage international students to study at regional unis

The Prime Minister says moving students could ease overcrowding in major capital cities.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison is considering a plan to encourage international students to move to regional centres, which could ease population growth in Sydney and Melbourne.

“In the north, they want more population, In Adelaide they want more population.” Mr Morrison said.

“But I can tell you in the outer suburbs of Sydney and Melbourne, they don’t so it’s about how you manage population and there are plenty of levers for how you do that.”

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, there were more than 786 thousand international student enrolments in 2017, but less than four per cent of those were in regional areas.

A move to make those universities more enticing is being welcomed by regional institutions.

“[Students] interact a lot more with the people in the community here [Armidale] so they get to have a more true Australian experience,” University of New England vice-chancellor, Annabelle Duncan, told SBS News.

“The common language between all the international students and the domestic students is English so they practice their English a lot more.” Ms Duncan said.

But the body representing international students is worried they may not have the necessary facilities to make it an enticing option and the plan could have an adverse effect.

“Regional institutions might not have all the courses that the city universities would have,” president of the Council of International Students Australia, Bijay Sapkota, told.

“There could be less opportunity for work integrated learning because big corporations would be established in the city area rather than the regional area.”

Australia’s immigration intake to remain at last year’s level: PM Scott Morrison

Australia’s immigration intake to remain at last year’s level: PM Scott Morrison

Prime Minister Scott Morrison says he expects Australia’s permanent annual immigration intake to remain at year’s level “just a little over 160,000″ against the planning level of 190,000.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison says Australia’s annual immigration intake will continue to remain at last year’s level, which was nearly 28,000 less than the planning level of 190,000.

“Our current permanent immigration levels are running just a little over 160,000. That was the level of the permanent immigration that was running at the time of the conclusion of the Howard Government,” Mr Morrison told reporters.

“They used to be a bit higher than that in terms of what the permanent intake had been a few years ago and that has come down somewhat over the last year or so. And I expect it to remain at those levels,” he said responding to a question about NSW Premier Gladys Berejeklian’s call to slash the state’s overseas migration intake to John Howard-era levels.

Last year, Australia’s permanent immigration intake fell to below 163,000 – the lowest since 2007-08 under John Howard.

Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton who was responsible for the Immigration portfolio before Mr Morrison took the reins of the country from Malcolm Turnbull, attributed the decline in immigration to enhanced security checks.

Earlier this week, Immigration Minister, David Coleman indicated that his department would continue the approach adopted since last year.

“We did see last year, the impact the increased security process had,” Mr Coleman said in Melbourne.

“It is absolutely fundamental that we in no way absolutely compromise on security. We are not going to do that. We are going to be very careful.

Australia’s annual immigration planning levels have been consistent at 190,000 since 2011. The actual intake has been consistent with the planning levels since then for most of the time until 2016-17 when the intake was just over 183,000.

Last year’s figures showed a decline of over 21,000 in the number permanent visas issued compared to the previous year, primarily driven by a cut in skilled and family stream visas.

In 2017-18, the skilled stream visas saw a cut of over 12,000 and family stream visas were also cut by 15 per cent.

The continuing visa squeeze reflects in the number of invites issued by the Immigration Department to visa aspirants who have submitted their expression of interest to apply for a permanent visa.

The chief of India’s airport police says an over-friendly approach of the security personnel could give an impression of a lax security at airports.

The chief of India’s airport police says an over-friendly approach of the security personnel could give an impression of a lax security at airports.

Authorities in India have instructed the police force responsible for the safety of the country’s airports to adopt a different approach – by cutting their “broad smiles” down to just “sufficient smiles”.

It comes amid concerns that the “overfriendliness” of Central Industrial Security Force personnel, tasked with guarding the nation’s airports, might give an impression of a lax security, The Indian Express reported.

The head of the CISF said the “over-friendly” approach was responsible for the 9/11 attacks in the US.

“We cannot be over-friendly with the passengers because one of the reasons cited as to why 9/11 happened… was excessive reliance on passenger-friendly features where security personnel went out of the way to ensure that the passenger is facilitated, thereby compromising on security,” said Rajesh Ranjan, the Director General of the force.

Another officer accompanying Mr Ranjan said the force was moving from a “Broad Smile System” to a “Sufficient Smile System” to ensure a foolproof security of the airports in India.

“So, friendly smiles are good but the focus should be on the core duties that we perform at the airports,” Mr Ranjan added.

He said the force would also be trained in behavioural analysis from international consultants, as well as being equipped with modern equipment, such as full-body scanners, body-worn cameras and express security checks of hand baggage.

In 2004, the government in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh paid a special allowance to policemen to grow a moustache because senior officers believed it would help them command more respect.

In contrast, police forces in many states are now trying to break away from the traditionally tough image and are trying to project a more friendly face with the use of social media.

The Bengaluru police force in the south-Indian state of Karnataka received some positive press when it started using social media memes to get the law enforcement message out to the people.

‘Not possible to police’ Coalition plan to force new migrants to live in rural areas

‘Not possible to police’ Coalition plan to force new migrants to live in rural areas

Minister fails to specify how migrants would be shifted from big cities, after former Australian Border Force chief questions policy

The government will face big problems in enforcing its latest proposal to send new migrants to the regions, the former Australian Border Force chief Roman Quaedvlieg has said.

Alan Tudge, dubbed the “minister for congestion busting” by prime minister Scott Morrison delivered the government’s latest foray into solving overcrowding in Sydney and Melbourne on Tuesday, in a speech proposing further decentralisation, visa changes and incentives to move new migrants out of big cities.

But the man whose job was to enforce visa conditions before he was sacked for misconduct in March, and who has gone on to become a notable critic of Coalition policy, questioned the enforceability of the scheme.

“Imposition of the visa condition is the easy part,” Quaedvlieg said on Twitter. “Enforcement will be harder. Migrants will gravitate to opportunities and amenities in cities. It’s not possible to police the condition without substantial resources, both identifying breaches and sanctioning them.”

Coalition ministers have been raising the prospect of a specialised regional visa since early this year, when Peter Dutton told Sydney radio 2GB new migrants should move to the regions, picking up part of Tony Abbott’s “conservative manifesto” from 2017.

But they have so far failed to provide answers on how such a scheme would work, or be enforced. Asked on ABC radio ahead of his speech on Tuesday, Tudge noted Australia already put “conditions on all sorts of visas”, suggesting the penalties which currently apply to other visa classes, such as revocation of visas, could be extended to migrants who left regional areas.

Morrison dismissed the idea himself while in opposition in 2010, telling the ABC that it was “false hope that this this problem’s going to be solved because a population minister is going to fantastically move people around like it has never been done before in our history”.

But with the election looming and minor parties such as One Nation beginning to marshal voter anger against immigration, the Morrison government is looking to get ahead of electorate dissatisfaction, particularly in Melbourne and Sydney.

In his speech, Tudge said one way of encouraging movement out of the big cities was to “match the skills of new migrants with the skill shortages in rural and regional Australia”.

“As I indicated earlier, net overseas migration accounts for 60% of our overall population growth and around 75% of the growth of the big two cities,” he said.

“Hence, settling even a slightly larger number of new migrants to the smaller states and regions can take significant pressure off our big cities. There are some constraints to this, of course – for example 25% of our annual migration intake is directly related to an employer sponsoring a person for a job where they cannot get an Australian. We do not want to jeopardise the growth of those sponsoring businesses, and hence the wealth of our nation.

“A further 30% concerns family reunion – typically, an Aussie marrying a foreigner. We cannot send a person’s spouse to a different state.

“But apart from these two categories, there is no geographical requirement for a newly arrived migrant. We are working on measures to have more new arrivals go to the smaller states and regions and require them to be there for at least a few years.”

Labor has pledged to establish an independent body to monitor labour shortages and supply across Australia’s regions if elected. Its spokesman, Brendan O’Connor, said the opposition would examine the government’s proposal.

But he said the government “has really done nothing to ease the congestion in our capital cities” in the past five years.

“We have to be very careful here,” he said. There are many regions of this country where there are not many jobs. In fact, unemployment is very high in regional Australia, in many parts of regional Australia.

“So the idea that you would direct people coming through the immigration processes to regions where there’s already high unemployment could compound a problem, not make it better. So we have to get this right. If the government is serious about this, they should consider the evidence, they should get advice from experts, and they should be very careful about not displacing local workers where unemployment is already high in regions of this country.”

Labor’s argument is similar to what Morrison himself argued eight years ago, when he dismissed the idea as “unfair to the Australian people to suggest that is a realistic option” in the short or medium term.

“Long term, I think there are still real doubts. The history of settlement over centuries means that people will come and gravitate to areas where there is population,” he told the ABC in July 2010.

Unions NSW also dismissed the latest proposal as cementing disadvantage among migrants and driving down wages.

“We have already seen what happens when you force working holidaymakers to spend 88 days working in the regions, secretary Mark Morey said in a statement.

“You smash their capacity to negotiate and usher in rampant exploration. Alan Tudge’s latest thought bubble is no different.”

Skilled migrants to spend ‘at least a few years’ in regional Australia under Morrison’s population plan

Skilled migrants to spend ‘at least a few years’ in regional Australia under Morrison’s population plan

New population minister Alan Tudge said up to 45 percent of permanent immigrants could be diverted to visas that force them to spend “at least a few years” in regional areas, or small states like South Australia

The Morrison government has promised visa reforms that will force a significant chunk of Australia’s annual intake of 190,000 permanent migrants to spend “at least a few years” in regional areas before they can move to a city like Sydney or Melbourne.

The move, advocated by the Nationals and key lobby groups like the Farmers’ Federation, is part of the government’s bid to tackle population growth in the country’s congested capitals while stimulating regional areas crying out for more labour.

Scott Morrison’s newly appointed “congestion-busting” minister for population and cities, Alan Tudge, announced the plan at a speech in Melbourne on Tuesday.

Existing regional visas only divert around 5,000 of the annual permanent intake, which is capped at 190,000 places.

The new scheme would be much more ambitious and could force nearly half of the migration stream to settle in regional areas and the smaller states.

Mr Tudge said the policy would not impact the 25 percent who come on employer-sponsored visas, where a specific company vouches for the migrant, or the roughly 30 percent who come on family reunion visas.

“But about 45 percent of our visas aren’t attached to a geographical location as such, and therefore there are those opportunities to provide those incentives and encouragements to reside elsewhere,” Mr Tudge said.

The visas would require migrants to live outside the major cities for “at least a few years”, he said, using a “combination of encouragement and some conditions”.

The government’s proposal relates to skilled visas, but Mr Tudge said there was an ongoing discussion about moving more of the humanitarian refugee intake to rural areas as well.

Enforcement questioned
The minister would not specify what punishments might apply to migrants who breach their conditions, or how long the conditions would be imposed.

“Nearly every visa has some conditions attached to it,” he said, flagging more detail in the coming “months”.