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HAWKE: Migration Amendment (Strengthening the Character Test) Bill 2021

A Bill for an Act to amend the Migration Act 1958, and for related purposes 

The Australian Government remains committed to protecting the Australian community from the risk of harm posed by non-citizens. To continue the trend of Australia’s strong cancellation powers and low tolerance for criminal behaviour by non-citizens, this Bill introduces measures that enhance the Government’s ability to protect the Australian community. The Bill follows on from issues considered by the 2017 Joint Standing Committee on Migration report on migrant settlement outcomes titled ‘No one teaches you to become an Australian’. In its recommendations 15 and 16, the Committee recommended that those convicted of a serious violent offence, such as serious assaults, aggravated burglary, sexual offences and possession of child pornography, should have their visas cancelled under character provisions. The Bill strengthens the character test in section 501 Migration Act 1958 (the Migration Act) to ensure that non-citizens who are convicted of certain serious criminal offences may be considered for visa refusal or cancellation, regardless of the length of sentence imposed. The amendments in the Bill acknowledge that certain serious criminal offences (designated offences) have a particularly significant impact on victims, and that a person who is convicted of such an offence should be appropriately considered for visa refusal or cancellation under section 501. The Bill amends section 501 of the Migration Act to introduce a new ground on which a person convicted of a designated offence (in Australia or overseas) objectively fails the character test, and may be considered on a discretionary basis for visa refusal or cancellation on character grounds, regardless of the actual sentence imposed. The Bill also makes consequential amendments to the definition of character concern in section 5C of the Migration Act.

Source:  Migration-Amendment-Strengthening-the-Character-Test-Bill-2021.pdf and Migration-Amendment-Strengthening-the-Character-Test-Bill-2021-Explanatory-Memorandum.pdf

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