Refugee Council of Australia
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Submission on the Migration Amendment (Removal and Other Measures) Bill 2024

The Refugee Council of Australia (RCOA) made a submission to the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee on the proposed Migration Amendment (Removal and Other Measures) Bill 2024. The submission focuses on the following key points:

  • Opposition to the Bill: The Refugee Council of Australia (RCOA) strongly opposes the Bill due to its broad discretionary powers, the criminalisation of people seeking asylum, and the risks of breaching Australia’s protection obligations under international law.
  • Criminalization of Asylum Seekers: The Bill raises concerns about potentially criminalising individuals for refusing to return to their country of origin, leading to mandatory imprisonment for those fearing harm upon return.
  • Failures of the Fast Track Process: The Fast Track refugee protection assessment process has been criticized for not providing fair, thorough, or robust assessments, placing thousands at risk of returning to danger or facing years of incarceration.
  • Separation of Families: The Bill threatens family unity, particularly for those seeking asylum, by potentially forcibly separating families as a result of compliance with the removal process.
  • Broad Discretionary Powers and Visa Ban: The Bill grants the Minister extensive powers to ban visa applications from “removal concern countries,” risking arbitrary and discriminatory practices.
  • Impact on Economy and Community: The visa ban could negatively impact diplomatic relations, trade, the education sector, tourism, and social cohesion, especially within Australia’s multicultural and diaspora communities.
  • Unchecked Ministerial Powers: The Bill could expand the powers of future ministers, allowing them to designate “removal concern countries” and expand classes of visas for “removal pathway non-citizens” without sufficient oversight.
  • Alternatives to the Bill: The Refugee Council suggests that a better approach would be to provide tailored individual support to facilitate voluntary returns in a dignified manner, rather than using coercive measures.
  • Recommendations: The RCOA recommends rejecting the Bill in its entirety, re-assessing protection applications rejected via the Fast Track process, and using non-coercive measures to facilitate removal options for those not found to be refugees.

RCOA Migration Amendment Removal Bill 2024 Submission
Size : 363.7 kB Format : PDF

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