Secretary of the Immigration department Michael Pezzullo says The DIBP has cancelled over 27,000 visas in the first half of the current financial year.
While addressing an Estimates Hearing, he said the DIBP also discovered approximately 8,000 illegal aliens of whom 1,000 were in illegal employment. He said the immigrants had voluntarily sought the department’s assistance to sort out their visa status.
The reasons for the cancellations ranged from working illegally to overstaying visa invitations and having questionable character. Between December 2014 and December 2016, over 2,000 visas were revoked and 820 applicants were denied visas on character grounds.
Mr Pezzullo informed the committee that the department intended to employ more modern technologies to step up service delivery without necessarily adding to the number of officers. His statement read in part:
“In the face of resource constraints and increasing border flows, investment in modernisation in crucial, this means increased automation, such as next generation of smart gates, harnessing new digital technologies to improve our client services, improving our abilities to collect and analyse big data to produce actionable intelligence from that place.”
Roman Quaedvlieg the Border Force Commissioner on his part told the hearing that the ABF is coordinating with other law enforcement agencies to identify and cancel visas of non-citizens engaged in criminal activity such as gang violence where it deems such action to be appropriate.
He cited examples of the cancellation of visas of at least six members of the notorious Apex gang accused of being involved in criminal activities in Melbourne. The DIBP also cancelled visas for 138 members of outlawed motorcycle gangs for having questionable character.
The DIBP states that one cannot pass the character test if they:
- have a substantial criminal record
- have been convicted of escaping from immigration detention
- have been involved in or associated with criminal activity
Applicants are required to pass a criminal record check when applying for a work visa in Australia; usually, this means submitting a valid police clearance certificate from their country of residence.
In the last financial year, the department cancelled over 60,000 visas, out of which a quarter was due to overstaying in Australia. A total of 7.7 million temporary visas were approved during the same period.
If you need assistance with your visa application, make a point of speaking to an Australian registered migration agent before you make your visa application.