Australia’s visa system has been exploited by criminals so experts are making attempts to fix it.
- “Systemic abuses” of Australia’s immigration system are occurring, Home Affairs Minister Clare O’Neil says.
- She has pledged the system will be reviewed following reports of visa rorting and foreign worker exploitation.
- Immigration experts say the visa backlog must be reduced, and tougher penalties are needed to stem criminal activity.
The current state of the Australian immigration system can only be described as in a ‘State of disrepair’ and many criminals have taken advantage of the system’s current state one way or another which has led the entire system to be reviewed in order to find answers as to how the system has been exploited.
In the wake of recent reports regarding Australian visa rorting and foreign worker exploitation, Clare O’Neil, Australia’s minister of Home Affairs filed an independent review on Monday which was uncovered by the joint investigative efforts of Nine’s Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, and 60 Minutes which contained the revelation that a human trafficking boss who had previously been imprisoned in the United Kingdom had somehow entered Australia.
It was confirmed by SBS news that the review is to be conducted separately from the one announced in September concerning the skilled labor shortage in Australia during the Job and Skill Summit and the review terms of reference will be revealed at a later date.
Ms. O’Neil had previously made the following statement on ABC radio “It’s absolutely clear to me that there are systemic abuses of the system occurring at the moment” and in response to the issue she held opposition leader Peter Dutton accountable claiming that he “talked tough” on borders while at the same time presiding “over a system that was allowing these things to happen”.
As for the exploitation in the immigration system going undetected, the cause has been determined to be inadequate visa processing capacity. Regarding this issue a professor of public law at the University of Sydney’s Law School, Mary Crock has made the following statement:
“If you don’t have enough people on the ground to make decisions, you also don’t have an appropriate number of people to ensure … that there are not abuses occurring”.
The federal budget, unveiled in October, showed a $42.2 million commitment over two years from 2022-23 to increase visa processing capacity in order to further decrease the visa backlogs that had recently dropped from almost 1 million visa applications to around 880,000 after an additional 260 staff members were added by the Albasneese government to increase visa processing time.
Professor Crock also introduced the idea of assigning caseworkers so that one person is able to oversee the entirety of a visa application and make sure applicants are neither exploited nor being exploited by the system.
Moreover, Mr. Abul Rizvi a former deputy secretary of the immigration department said a review should run for at least a year and should hear from “all parts of society”, including businesses, unions, migration agents, and migrants because of the system’s complexity along with there being tougher penalties, such as jail terms, for employers who underpay migrant workers stating that “Unless you can stop the extent to which migrants are screwed, the financial incentive for bad actors to operate in this space will continue,”
Furthermore, while this is going on the government has also revealed what aspects will be covered by the review released in the Jobs and Skills Summit. According to the Terms of reference of the review, its purpose is to “develop a holistic strategy that articulates the purpose, structure, and objectives of Australia’s migration system to ensure it meets the national interest in the coming decades”.
An interim containing priority recommendations for next year’s budget will also also be given to the minister on 28 February
The review will be carried out by Former top bureaucrat Martin Parkinson, labour migration legal expert Joanna Howe and former Skilled Migration Ministerial Advisory Council member John Azarias