29 May 2008

Australian Immigration minister moves away from visa decision making

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Senator Chris Evans, the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, said he wants less power to overturn Australian immigration decisions and less ministerial involvement to create a more transparent visa application process. For the first quarter of this year the minister was found to have finalised the cases of 472 people trying to get an Australian visa.

Senator Evans told a senate estimate hearing: "I have granted a total of 187 visas," reports the Sydney Morning Herald. However, the government member said he no longer wants the decision making power of granting Australian visas to be "in the hands of the minister" apart from in "exceptional circumstances".

He said the system did not create good public policy, despite him essentially signing off decisions made by the former minister Kevin Andrews. Recent statistics showed that most people entering into Australian immigration in the past ten years have achieved employment. The government commented yesterday that Australian visa holders are essential to the economy and add real value to it.

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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