New character requirements for Australian visas
The Australian Immigration Minister Chris Bowen has announced that new rules regarding the character of the prospective Australian visa applicants will be introduced. The objective is to protect the Australian society from unnecessary risks. The new regulations will come into effect on 1st September this year. They will be valid for all visa decisions made by the Australian immigration authorities on or after that date. All people who are affected by the change will be notified by the Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship and will be given the opportunity to respond before any decision is taken on their application. In some cases it may be taken into account if the person has previously spent long periods in Australia and if there are children and family members whose interests should be considered
The ministerial direction that Mr. Bowen signed, outlines various considerations that he thinks are relevant when deciding on whether or not to refuse or to cancel someone’s visa on character grounds. The new rules stress out that Australia is not tolerant of any kind of criminal behaviour that harms individuals or groups in the Australian community. They make a clear point that that coming and staying in Australia is a privilege that the country gives to immigrants, expecting that they will abide the local law and will respect the Australian institutions. According to the changes, people who have committed any serious crimes including of a violent or sexual nature or against vulnerable members of the society, will be denied the right to obtain a visa and to remain in Australia. The reason for this is that some types of crimes and the consequences of them could be so harmful for the community that any risk of similar conduct in the future is not acceptable.
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