23 January 2012

Kiwi criminals slip through Australian visa checks

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An investigation into the Australian immigration department's border checks has claimed checks are so lax that convicted felons in their home countries were allowed into Australia without question.

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A damning report claims Australian immigration authorities have failed to prevent convicts from entering the country.

The report, published by Brisbane’s Sunday Mail, details many criminals, mainly from New Zealand, who were granted an Australian visa despite having convictions including robbery, rape, kidnapping and manslaughter.

The report specifically highlights Jonathan Rountree who was convicted on drug charges in his native New Zealand and was granted entry to Australia simply by ticking a box on his passenger arrival card claiming he had no criminal convictions.

While Rountree's previous convictions might not be as worrying as those which other migrants successfully managed to hide from Australian immigration authorities, the report revealed that Rountree had been hired as a roofing contractor to work on the Australian prime minister's residence, before embarking on a renewed criminal career in his new country.

Another New Zealander, Gregory James Stone not only managed to enter Australia despite having a total of 42 convictions in his native country, but also managed to win a deportation appeal allowing him to stay in Australia after being jailed for bodily harm.

The cases, which were detailed in Administrative Appeals Tribunal records from the past five years, have been labelled 'the tip of the iceberg' by the damning report as the tribunal only considered cases where people appealed against deportation orders.

Australian Immigration Minister Chris Bowen has used special powers to overturn successful appeals and deport several New Zealanders recently and has called for better communication between New Zealand and Australia's respective governments to reduce the number of criminals slipping through border checks.


The Australian Visa Bureau is an independent migration consultancy specialising in helping people lodge applications with the Australian Embassy London.

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