09 July 2008

Ministers to be distanced from Australian visa decisions

An investigation is to be launched into the role ministers play in making individual decisions on Australian immigration. Senator Chris Evans, the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, said a report has been commissioned to give more transparency and integrity to the decision.

He said: "While the minister has the personal power under the Migration Act to grant, refuse and cancel visas, those decisions are non-compellable, non-reviewable and non-delegable." He added that his role should be the only one which affords these powers.

It follows a move last year to commission Elizabeth Proust, a businesswoman, to inspect the process on individual decisions and make recommendations. Senator Evans said the department has "already implemented the administrative improvements" recommended in the review, to streamline some processes.

Senator Evans announced earlier this year that he wanted to move away from having as much involvement in the visa application process. He said this would enable more transparency in the system.

Australia needs skilled workers: Anyone applying for an Australian visa should begin by completing the Australian Visa Bureau's online Australian visa application to see if they meet the Australian visa requirements.

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