Visa Refusal Grounds Migration Amendment (Strengthening the Character Test) Bill 2021 amends the Migration Act 1958, to strengthen the character test in section 501, by providing specific and new ground of visa refusal and cancellation for the non-citizens who are convicted of serious offenses such as murder, sexual assault, or aggravated burglary.
The Amendments ensure that non-citizens who are convicted of certain serious offenses and pose a risk to the safety of the Australian community, do not pass the character test in section 501 and maybe appropriately be considered for visa refusal or cancellation. It also sets out the elements of “designated offense”, which is a new ground to fail the character test. A designated offense is an offense punishable with at least a maximum term of not less than two years imprisonment and involves:
- Violence or threat of violence against a person includes an act constituting an offense of murder, manslaughter, kidnapping, aggravated burglary, robbery or assault, or an equivalent offense or
- Non-consensual conduct of a sexual nature, or
- Breaching an order made by a court or tribunal for the personal protection of another person, or
- Using or possessing a weapon, or
- Procuring, or assisting in any way with one of this designated crime
It also provides that the offense involving violence against a person will not be considered as a designated offense unless it results in or considerably contributes to physical or mental harm, either temporarily or permanently to another person.
The Bill is registered on the Federal Register of Legislation on 24 November 2021 and commences on the day after the Act receives royal assent.
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