Legislation Updates

Migration Legislation Tracker

A single source about the status of pieces of legislation, Bills, commencement dates, disallowances, etc

Waiting for subclass 309 onshore

"This Bill seeks to amend the Migration Act 1958 to enable applicants for Subclass 309 (Partner (Provisional)) visas to be granted the visa onshore,...

Biosecurity contraventions: visa cancellation

The new instrument amends the Migration Regulations 1994 (Cth) to prescribe additional visa subclasses that may be cancelled if the visa holder is in Australia, has not been immigration cleared and the Minister reasonably believes that the visa holder has contravened subsection 126(2), 128(2), 532(1) or 533(1) of the Biosecurity Act 2015 (Cth)

Case Law Updates

Did AAT’s opinion on matter A shield decision from its error on matter B?

Federal Court. Applicant's visa was cancelled under s 501(3A). Delegate refused to revoke cancellation under s 501CA(4). AAT: found it had jurisdiction to review delegate's decision; erroneously found revocation request had not been made by deadline; thus, found that neither AAT nor delegate had power to revoke; nonetheless found that, had it been made by deadline, it would have affirmed delegate's decision, based on its opinion that there was not "another reason" to revoke cancellation; set aside non-revocation decision; and remitted matter to Minister with a direction that the cancellation decision not be set aside. Was AAT's error not jurisdictional, given its opinion that there was not "another reason"?

Once a non-alien, always a non-alien?

High Court. Plaintiff was born in what is now Malta in 1945, as a British subject. He then entered Australia in 1948 and became a UK citizen in 1949, retaining the status of a British subject. He held an absorbed person visa since 1994, until that visa was cancelled. He was never naturalised Australian and his parents were not Australian citizens. Can it be said that, because the Plaintiff had the status of a British subject when he arrived in Australia, he could not then have been conceived of as an "alien", with the result that he thereby acquired the status of a non-alien and therefore that he remains outside the reach of s 51(xix) of the Constitution?

Direction 79: para 14.1 interpreted

Federal Court (Full Court). Does para 14.1(2) of Direction 79 require decision-makers to take account of non-refoulement obligations? If not, might those obligations be required to be considered nevertheless for other reasons, such as because an applicant has raised those obligations? Since the introduction of s 197C, is indefinitely holding a person in detention for no lawful purpose and not refouling the person a possible legal outcome? If so, is the last sentence of para 14.1(6) incorrect to the extent it suggests otherwise? Was AAT obliged by paragraph 14.1(2) to proceed on the basis that refoulement was not a possible outcome?

Industry Updates

RMAs on ATO’s radar

The ATO will acquire visa data from the Department of Home Affairs for 2020-21 through to 2022-23.  The data items include...

“Minister has acted unlawfully”

Federal Court: "The Minister has acted unlawfully. His actions have unlawfully deprived a person of his liberty. His conduct exposes him to both civil and potentially criminal sanctions, not limited to a proceeding for contempt. In the absence of explanation, the Minister has engaged in conduct which can only be described as criminal".

Deregulation: OMARA fee “refund” is possible

The OMARA has recently informed practitioners that it will not be able to refund registration (or repeat registration) application charges for legal practitioners who will no longer be regulated by the OMARA. Although the OMARA is not itself able to offer refunds, we carried out research for our readers and found a piece of legislation which gives the Commonwealth government the discretion to make payments to individuals in certain circumstances, which in the case of OMARA fees could effectively work as a refund. We also discuss the government's policies on such circumstances and how to make a "refund" request.

Media Updates

Can non-compliance with social distancing lead to cancellation?

"I will also say a very clear message to those backpackers who may not be adhering to the social distancing rules... [Y]ou will be breaching your visa condition and if we find that out, we will be kicking you out of the country". We discuss whether non-compliance with social distancing rules can in fact lead to a breach of a visa condition and ultimately the cancellation of a working holiday, work and holiday or other visas.

Some students able to work more than 40 hrs / fortnight

"Australia’s major supermarkets will temporarily be able to offer more hours to international student employees to help keep shelves stocked". It will be interesting to see whether this measure is extended to other industries until the situation is normalised.

COVID-19: travel ban expanded to Italy

The government has just announced that it will expand the travel ban to Italy as of 6PM tonight, 11 March 2020.

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