Tuesday, 22 June 2021
Temporary Visa Holders
That the Senate—
(a) notes that:
(i) Australia's international border has been closed for fifteen months, with the necessary speed of the closure resulting in many families becoming separated, including:
(A) partners of Australian citizens and permanent residents that hold Prospective Marriage (subclass 300) visas, and
(B) partners and dependent children of temporary visa holders across a range of visa classes, many of whom have lived in Australia for many years and have significant ties to Australia,
(ii) ongoing family separations are causing immense trauma and pain, with no end in sight, and
(iii) holders of Business Innovation and Investment (subclass 188) visas are automatically exempt from Australia's international travel ban, and over 6,000 people have been granted this visa since the border closed, without requiring any pre-existing ties to Australia; and
(b) calls on the Federal Government to:
(i) make holders of Prospective Marriage (subclass 300) visas automatically exempt from Australia's inbound travel ban, bringing this visa class into line with all other partner visa classes that are already exempt, and
(ii) create new criteria that would allow the granting of an exemption from the inbound travel ban for partners and dependent children on temporary visas that are separated from their onshore partner or parent by the border closure.
The government will not be supporting the motion. Whilst the government acknowledges the concerns of some temporary visa holders, decisions to grant exemptions must be balanced against the government's need to ensure Australia's health and security through Australia's border closure measures during the pandemic. Exemption requests are considered on a case-by-case basis. These measures are temporary and are reviewed regularly. Each exemption application is assessed on its own merits. The government has introduced changes to support prospective marriage visa holders, former visa holders and visa applicants unable to enter Australia due to COVID-19 travel restrictions.