New immigration policy changes allow boat refugees to bring families to Australia

The Australian government has lifted restrictions that prevent asylum seekers arriving by boat from bringing family members to the country.

Immigration Minister Andrew Giles recently announced that the Labor government had changed some directives on immigration policy, making reunification visa processing by boat refugees the lowest priority.

The former coalition government adopted these instructions as a deterrent to prevent asylum seekers from coming to Australia by boat.

The changes are expected to affect visa applications for thousands of boat refugee families trying to come to Australia, with people from countries such as Iran, Afghanistan and Sri Lanka being the most affected.

The new instructions apply only to refugees on permanent protection visas, but there are no changes for refugees on temporary visas.

“The government is improving the family reunification pathways for these permanent visa holders. imposes considerable uncertainty.” Giles said SBS news.

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Immigration Minister Andrew Giles attends the opening of the House of Commons at the Houses of Parliament in Canberra, Australia June 18, 2020. (Sam Mooy/Getty Images)

At the same time, the government said it had added immigration staff and increased the number of employees from 20 to 40 to expedite visa applications for individuals in complex situations.

This is the Labor Party’s latest effort big backlog The number of visa applications inherited from the previous government after the recent addition of 400 immigration staff.

Responses from stakeholders

After the announcement, opposition parties warned that Labor had made it easier for asylum seekers to come to Australia by boat.

“Labour’s decision has brought a new marketing campaign to smugglers because if you arrive in Australia you will be allowed to settle here and your family will be allowed to join you, to desperate people. Because I can tell you.

“Temporary protection visas were a key pillar of Operation Sovereign Borders that helped stop boats and end death at sea.”

Meanwhile, Jana Favero, advocacy director at the Asylum Seekers Resource Center, welcomed the decision, saying refugees had long asked the government to prioritize family reunification.

In a comment obtained by AAP, she said, “I am very pleased that the deliberate and prudent policy to keep refugees separated from their families has finally come to an end.

“Now that the instructions are abolished, there will be no delays in processing.”

Nevertheless, Favello said the government should not only increase the number of permanent residence visas granted to refugees, but also extend the changes to those eligible for temporary protection visas.

“This is the first step for humanity. We should follow it swiftly by giving it a path to permanence,” she said.

Australia extends offshore detention policy

Repeal of immigration directive comes soon after Labor government rushes invoice Through Congress to renew the offshore detention policy, which had already expired on February 7.

First introduced by the Gillard administration policy In 2012, to deal with the surge in refugees arriving by boat.

Under this measure, the Australian government will send boat refugees to a third country where they will remain while their claims are processed.

Refugees with valid claims are settled in another developed country such as New Zealand or the United States.

At the time, the Australian government said the measure would prevent smugglers from sending boats to Australia and ensure a fair and orderly migration system.

Refugee Advocacy and Human Rights group He has long criticized the policy for harming refugees and their children.

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Refugee aid workers with placards gather to protest at the Nauru refugee camp in Sydney, Australia, October 5, 2016. (Peter Parks/AFP via Getty Images)

The policy expired in October 2022, but the Labor government took no action until very recently.

Home Secretary Claire O’Neill was reportedly notified of the matter in December 2022, but it’s unclear why the delay occurred.

The small Pacific island nation of Nauru will continue to host Australian offshore asylum seekers if the bill passes parliament.

However, the bill requires approval by both houses of Congress, so it is expected to take another two months to close the national security gap.

Opposition parties, meanwhile, criticized the Labor government’s delay, saying it had created a hole in Australia’s border system.

“It is unacceptable that the Labor government has failed to do anything in a four-month period to ensure that designated regional processing centers exist,” said the shadow home secretary. Karen Andrews Said.