Fears over Dutton’s new visa powers

Immigration to Australia

Proposed laws giving Immigration Minister Peter Dutton new discretionary powers have been given the green light by a government-dominated committee, despite concerns raised about the changes.

The bill allows Mr Dutton to seek revalidation of information from visa holders to make sure they continue to meet requirements.

The new powers enable the government to manage potential risks as it trials new 10-year visas for Chinese visitors.

The committee report, tabled in parliament on Monday, notes the Senate’s Scrutiny of Bills Committee has raised several concerns about the bill, citing a lack of detail over who would be affected, and how the minister’s decisions could be reviewed.

Immigration to Australia

The committee insists Mr Dutton would be required to table a statement to both houses of parliament justifying his decision in relation to visa holders.

“This provision would ensure that decisions made by the minister are subject to appropriate scrutiny by parliament,” it said.

The report calls on the government to consider that checks made by the minister be subject to disallowance by the Senate.

In a separate dissenting report, the Greens recommended the Senate reject the bill, arguing it would unreasonably extend the immigration minister’s discretionary powers.

It argues the wording of the bill could require the holder of any Australian visa to undergo a revalidation check, not just the holder of a 10-year Chinese visitor visa.

“This could make all Australian visas – no matter whether temporary or permanent – subject to the unchecked discretionary powers of the minister,” it said.

Article Source: theaustralian

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