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Migration Amendment (Strengthening the Character Test) Bill 2018

The submission to the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee in relation to the proposed measures contained in the Migration Amendment (Strengthening the Character Test) Bill 2018 was prepared by the Law Council. 

The Law Council considers that the existing provisions under section 501 of the Migration Act 1958 (Cth) (Migration Act) already provide the Minister with very broad powers to cancel and refuse visas on character grounds. Indeed, the Law Council has in its previous submissions expressed concern over the expansion of these cancellation powers given their breadth, as well as the low cancellation thresholds and insufficient safeguards involved.

While the Law Council recognises that the Executive should possess the power where necessary to prevent or remove a dangerous individual from obtaining or retaining the right to enter and remain in Australia, it is recognised that a decision to cancel or refuse a visa based on character grounds will almost always have a profound impact on the lives of individuals and their families, and any power to refuse or cancel a visa should be administered cautiously and with proper regard to all circumstances of the individual case.

The Law Council therefore notes that restraint must be exercised with any attempt to expand this power beyond existing parameters and must be accompanied by robust justification. In this regard, the Law Council submits that the justification for the expanded measures as proposed in the Bill has not been made sufficiently clear.

You can read the full submissions below.

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