By Kate O’Connell The Turnbull government is taking a big step towards making it easier for asylum seekers to apply for a permanent residence permit after the Coalition’s “anti-refugee” policies were struck down by the Federal Court.
The new policy is expected to be announced in the Federal Parliament next week.
It will allow asylum seekers who arrive by boat to apply to apply directly for a residence permit.
It comes after the High Court struck down a number of laws the Coalition had introduced to stop asylum seekers from travelling by boat, including the Kirchedhoff-Darlington regime, the Dredging Act and the Australian Border Force (ABF).
The new proposal to change the way asylum seekers are granted residence permits has been met with strong opposition from both Labor and the Greens, and has been labelled a “dangerous” expansion of the draconian Kirchhof-Daring regime.
It was the first major legislation the Coalition has enacted since taking power in October, and the Government’s first major policy to be struck down in the courts.
The legislation was introduced in response to the Supreme Court decision to strike down the Australian Capital Territory’s mandatory detention regime, which led to asylum seekers being locked up without charge or trial for long periods of time.
Under the law, asylum seekers can apply for temporary residence permits after a certain period of time, as long as they do not have a criminal record.
This would allow them to be granted temporary residence visas for as long a period as they wish.
The Government is also moving to make it easier to revoke temporary residence permit holders’ citizenship, although this is not currently possible.
This change will apply to people who have been granted a temporary residence visa for less than five years.
The changes will also give people who were granted temporary visas under the Kirchinghoff-darlington regime the right to apply in the first instance for a temporary resident permit and will allow them the right “to lodge a formal application for the permanent residence permits.”
Under the new legislation, asylum seeker who are granted temporary visa may also apply for permanent residence on the same basis.
Asylum seeker who have completed their asylum seeker visa and have been in Australia for less a year will be able to apply as long the person has not been convicted of a criminal offence.
The Kirchhoffs were found to have contravened the Immigration Act and failed to provide “reasonable grounds” for their arrival by boat.
Asylum seekers who are convicted of an offence and have a conviction on their record will not be able apply for their temporary residence.
They will instead have to seek a judicial review of their detention.
Mr Turnbull said the new temporary residence scheme will be rolled out to other categories of people who arrive in Australia by boat within the next 12 months, with those arriving by boat for the first time under the scheme to be allowed to apply.
The scheme will also be expanded to cover people who arrived by boat before March 2017.
The Minister said the Government would continue to work closely with all stakeholders to implement the scheme.
Immigration Minister Peter Dutton said the changes would provide relief for thousands of people and provide more certainty for those who have applied for temporary visas.
“I am pleased that the Coalition Government is making a serious effort to help thousands of Australian citizens and legal residents, and those who are seeking temporary visas to stay in Australia, who are in urgent need of temporary residence status, by offering temporary visa holders the opportunity to be able secure permanent residence status without having to wait for a judicial decision on their asylum claims,” Mr Dutton told Sky News.
The move comes just months after the Supreme Warranted Asylum seekers legislation was struck down.
It included the “anti” Kirchhausen-Darlisters laws which required people who had been granted permanent residence visas to apply on the basis of a person’s criminal record and be assessed as having no risk of reoffending, before being allowed to re-enter Australia.
The laws had been struck down as discriminatory, and had been condemned by human rights organisations.
Mr Dutsch said the Turnbull Government had taken “a very significant step forward”.
“Our goal is to give these people the opportunity of having the opportunity for permanent residency status and, in doing so, to ensure they do have the ability to provide for themselves, their family, and their communities,” he said.
The Immigration Minister said his Government was determined to bring in the new “anti Kirch-Darryns” laws to “restore fairness” to the asylum seeker system.
“As the Coalition is bringing forward a number inhumane policies that have been passed by Parliament and the High Commission, it is important that we give people a chance to apply,” he told Sky.
“These new measures are part of a process to restore fairness to the system.”
Mr Dauber said the “extreme measures” the Government was introducing would have “severe consequences” for people.
“They will take us back to the day when the Australian community was living