Thursday, 4 December 2014
Migration and Maritime Powers Legislation Amendment (Resolving the Asylum Legacy Caseload) Bill 2014; In Committee
by leave—I move Greens amendments (1) and (2) on sheet 7630 together:
(1) Clause 2, page 2 (table item 4), omit the table item, substitute:
(2) Schedule 2, page 27 (after line 24), after item 16, insert:
16A After section 35A
35B Purpose of safe haven enterprise visas
It is the intention of the Parliament that unauthorised maritime arrivals who entered Australia by sea after 13 August 2012 and before 19 July 2013 and who satisfy the criteria for a protection visa are to be granted safe haven enterprise visas that:
(a) require them to live in regions of Australia that are suffering from labour shortages; and
(b) allow them to work and study; and
(c) give them access to social welfare benefits and services on the same basis as a person who holds a permanent protection visa; and
(d) allow family reunions; and
(e) in certain circumstances, may become permanent protection visas.
35C Regulations prescribing safe haven enterprise visas must be made
(1) Regulations making provision, in accordance with section 35D, for safe haven enterprise visas must be in force at the start of 1 February 2015.
(2) If regulations making provision for safe haven enterprise visas in accordance with section 35D are not in force at the start of a day after the end of January 2015, then, on and after that day:
(a) an eligible person (within the meaning of section 35D) may make a valid application for a permanent protection visa despite anything else in this Act, the regulations or the Migration and Maritime Powers Legislation Amendment (Resolving the Asylum Legacy Caseload) Act 2014; and
(b) subject to paragraph (a), the application is to be determined under this Act, and the regulations, as in force on 1 November 2014.
(3) In applying this Act and the regulations as in force on 1 November 2014 for the purposes of this section and section 35D, disregard any amendment or provision that was made or enacted after that day but purports to have retrospective effect.
35D Safe haven enterprise visas
(1) Regulations making provision for safe haven enterprise visas must:
(a) provide for safe haven enterprise visas to be granted to any eligible person who satisfies the criteria for a protection visa under this Act, and the regulations, as in force on 1 November 2014; and
(b) provide for safe haven enterprise visas to be valid for 5 years; and
(c) provide for safe haven enterprise visa holders to have access to family reunions; and
(d) subject to subsection (2), make it a condition of a safe haven enterprise visa that the holder live in a declared area of Australia while the visa is in force.
(2) The regulations must prescribe exceptions to the condition in paragraph (1)(d) for holders of safe haven enterprise visas who cannot, because of age or health or caring responsibilities, reasonably be expected to comply with the condition.
(3) The holder of a safe haven enterprise visa is to receive social welfare benefits and services from the Commonwealth on the same basis as a person who holds a permanent protection visa, and the regulations may make such modifications of other Acts and instruments as are necessary to ensure that this occurs.
(4) If, for each day in a period of 42 months (or each day in multiple periods that together amount to 42 months), a holder of a safe haven enterprise visa:
(a) complies with the conditions of the visa; and
(i) does not receive social security benefits under the Social Security Act 1991; or
(ii) is covered by an exception prescribed in accordance with subsection (5);
then, at and after the start of the day after the end of the period or the last of the periods, as the case may be, the visa is taken to be a permanent protection visa.
(5) The regulations must prescribe exceptions for the purposes of subparagraph (4)(b)(ii) for days on which a holder of a safe haven enterprise visa:
(a) is unable to work because of age or health or caring responsibilities; or
(b) is undertaking full-time study (including days on which the visa holder is on a normal break between periods of full-time study).
(6) In this section:
declared area of Australia means an area of Australia that is declared, by legislative instrument, in accordance with the regulations.
eligible person means the following people:
(a) a person who:
(i) became an unauthorised maritime arrival on or after 13 August 2012 and before 19 July 2013; and
(ii) is in Australia;
(b) a person prescribed by the regulations.
These amendments deal directly with the deficiencies of the current SHEV arrangement. The deal between Mr Palmer, Senator Xenophon and Minister Morrison does not include a permanent visa for people at the end.
If somebody has been found to be a genuine refugee—they have had their assessments, they have had their case looked at and they are given refugee status—and is then put onto a SHEV, a safe haven enterprise visa, and they fulfil the requirements set out in that visa, working for 3½ years in a rural area or studying and not draining welfare, then after the five years why do they not get a permanent visa? If the SHEV is designed as a pathway to permanency once you have proven not just that you are refugee but that you have the good character to be able to rebuild your life and contribute to this country then after you have met the requirements of the SHEV you should be given a permanent visa. Why continue to play a game with people's lives and require them to get a different type of visa, go on to another temporary visa, never really finding that pathway to permanency?
These amendments put a genuine pathway to permanency into the SHEV—exactly what Mr Palmer wanted and just like we have heard from the crossbenchers that they want to see. That is currently not in the legislation. It was not in the government's amendments as negotiated between Mr Palmer, Senator Xenophon and Minister Morrison. That deal did not include a pathway to permanency. If we accept that that is important, if people prove that they are worthy of being able to stay in this country, let's give them permanency at the end of that SHEV process. That is what these amendments seek to do.