Last year a record 580 people had their visas cancelled on character grounds, according to figures released by the department of immigration. The number of visa cancellations have been steadily rising because Immigration Minister Peter Dutton now has greater powers to cancel visas and has been using them to deport more non-citizens.
New Zealand 339
United Kingdom 64
South Africa 6
Serra Leone 5
Countries <5 cases 102
While there are various elements in the Minister’s section 501 broad cancellation powers, most decisions seem to be based on whether there is a cumulative term of imprisonment of 12 months. Therefore, all previous prison terms for different offenses are added together to determine if the visa should be cancelled.
Various cases have emerged in the media over the last year of non-citizens, who have families here and lived here most of the lives, being deported for a range of offenses including driving without a license and road rage. Under the new laws, the minister no longer looks at family ties or length of residency when making the cancellation decision.
The biggest complaints about the ministers’ new powers have come from New Zealanders. And for good reason too. According to the Migration Council “one in ten immigration detainees were New Zealanders, around 1,500 people currently, with an expected increase to 5,000.”
Of the 580 visas cancelled in the last financial year, 339 or almost 60 per cent were for New Zealand citizens. Visa cancellations of nationals of the United Kingdom was the next highest at 64.
If you have a visa cancelled or have been issued with of Notice Of Intention to Consider Cancellation (NOICC) please contact Mr Youssef Haddad on 0403 676 452.
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