Family Violence

EXCLUSIVE: ‘They have no place in Australia’: Foreigners who commit domestic violence and forced marriage face being deported even if they’re NOT convicted under tough new rules that kick in today

  • Alex Hawke on Monday signed a direction regarding the character test for visas.
  • He has ruled that family violence is a ‘primary consideration’ when assessing
  • Forced marriage and crimes against the vulnerable also viewed ‘very seriously’

By CHARLIE MOORE, POLITICAL REPORTER FOR DAILY MAIL AUSTRALIA PUBLISHED: 13:40 AEDT, 8 March 2021 | UPDATED: 14:47 AEDT, 8 March 2021

Foreigners who commit domestic violence and forced marriage face being deported even if they are not convicted as the government clamps down on the shocking crimes.

Tough-talking new immigration minister Alex Hawke has signed a direction ordering officials to take the offences more seriously when assessing visas.

He announced his new rules in a speech at the Western Sydney Women organisation on International Women’s Day.

Foreigners who commit domestic violence and forced marriage face being deported even if they are not convicted. Pictured: Australian Federal Police arrested two women and a 20-year- old man in rural Victoria in October. They were all charged with causing a person to enter a forced marriage.

‘Being a member of the Australian community is a privilege and it comes with a responsibility to respect and abide by our laws,’ he said.

‘Family violence and crimes against vulnerable members of the community have no place in Australia and will not be tolerated.’

Under Australia’s migration laws foreigners can have their visas rejected or cancelled if they fail to pass a ‘character test’.

A visa holder who is jailed for more than a year will automatically fail – but for shorter sentences officials have the power to decide whether they should be deported.

Ministerial direction 90, which was signed by Minister Hawke on Monday, orders officials to assess family violence as a ‘primary consideration’ when making their decisions.

The direction also lists conduct that is ‘viewed very seriously by the Australian Government and the Australian community’.

The list includes acts of family violence and forcing someone to marry ‘regardless of whether there is a conviction for an offence or a sentence imposed’.

Tough-talking new immigration minister Alex Hawke (pictured) has signed a direction ordering officials to take the offences more seriously when assessing visas

In the absence of a conviction, officials are urged to consider if ‘there is information or evidence from independent and authoritative sources indicating that the non- citizen is, or has been, involved in the perpetration of family violence.’

The direction states: ‘The Government has serious concerns about conferring on non-citizens who engage in family violence the privilege of entering or remaining in Australia.’

The serious conduct list also includes crimes against vulnerable members of the community such as the disabled or elderly, who are often targeted by fraudsters.

‘These changes align with the Australian community’s expectation that non-citizens who commit serious offences will not be permitted to enter or stay in Australia,’ Mr Hawke said.

The father of four, who represents Mitchell in north Sydney, took over as immigration minister during a cabinet reshuffle in December.

He made headlines in his first few weeks when he threatened to deport backpackers who broke Covid rules by having a party at Sydney’s Bronte Beach.

What do Immigration Minister Alex Hawke’s new rules say?

Direction 90 of the Migration Act 1958 adds family vio/ence as a primary consideration’ when assessing a visa. Below is some of the text.

8. Primary considerations

In making a decision under section 5O1(1), 5O1(2) or 5O1CA(4), the following are primary considerations:

(1) Protection of the Australian community from criminal or other serious conduct;
(2) Whether the conduct engaged in constituted family violence;
(3) The best interests of minor children in Australia:
(4) Expectations of the Australian community.

8.1.1 The nature and seriousness of the conduct

(1) In considering the nature and seriousness of the non-citizen’s criminal offending or other conduct to date, decision-makers must have regard to the following:

a) Without limiting the range of conduct that may be considered very serious, the types of crimes or conduct described below are viewed very seriously by the Australian Government and the

Australian community:

(i) Violent and/or sexual crimes:

(ii) Crimes of a violent nature against women or children, regardless of the sentence imposed:

(iii) Acts of family violence, regardless of whether there is a conviction for an offence or a sentence imposed:

B) Without limiting the range of conduct that may be considered serious, the types of crimes or conduct described below are considered by the Australian Government and the Australian community to be serious:

(i) Causing a person to enter into or being party to a forced marriage (other than being a victim), regardless of whether there is a conviction for an offence or a sentence imposed:
(ii) Crimes committed against vulnerable members of the community (such as the elderly and the disabled), or government representatives or officials due to the position they hold, or in the performance of their duties

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