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Australia tightens visa regime

by Staff reporter
28 Mar 2024 at 17:13hrs | Views
THE Australian government is proposing controversial laws that could see Zimbabwe and other countries facing a complete visa ban.

According to Australia's Herald Sun, other countries that are reportedly being considered for the visa ban are Iraq, Iran, South Sudan and Russia.

This comes alongside a potential five-year jail sentence for asylum seekers who resist deportation after exhausting all legal options.

The Bill was introduced just weeks before the High Court heard a case involving an Iranian man, known as ASF17, who is refusing to return to his home country where he fears persecution because of his sexuality.

The proposed legislation targets nations deemed unco-operative in accepting the return of their citizens who are denied asylum in Australia.

The laws will grant Australia's Home Affairs minister Clare O'Neil power to block visa applications from countries that do not accept their deported citizens.

Meanwhile, Australia is cracking down on student visas in an effort to curb record-breaking immigration levels.

According to O'Neil, the stricter rules aim to ensure students come to Australia for genuine educational purposes and to reduce pressure on housing.

Changes include tougher English language requirements for student visas.

Additionally, the government will have the authority to suspend educational institutions that repeatedly violate visa regulations when enrolling international students.

"The actions this weekend will continue to drive migration levels down while delivering on our commitments in the migration strategy to fix the broken system we inherited," the Home Affairs minister said in a statement.

A new "genuine student test" will be introduced to further crack down on international students who look to come to Australia primarily to work, while the imposition of "no further stay" conditions will be used on more visitor visas.

Recent data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics showed that its net immigration rose 60% to a record 548 800 in the year to September 30, 2023, higher than the 518 000 for the year ended June 2023.

Source - newsday