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Wednesday, 9 May 2012
Page: 4243

Mr BOWEN (McMahonMinister for Immigration and Citizenship) (09:24):

I move:

That this bill be now read a second time.

The Migration (Visa Evidence) Charge (Consequential Amendments) Bill 2012 is the second bill in a package of two bills which will enable the government to impose a charge for the production of visa evidence. The Visa Pricing Transformation program restructures the way in which visas are priced.

The visa evidence charge will be imposed by the principal bill, the Migration (Visa Evidence) Charge Bill 2012, which enables a charge to be payable for the production of prescribed evidence of a visa. The Migration (Visa Evidence) Charge (Consequential Amendments) Bill 2012 completes the package of amendments needed to implement the visa evidence charge.

This bill amends the Migration Act to enable a visa holder to request to be given a prescribed form of evidence, and requires a person who makes a request for visa evidence to pay the visa evidence charge. If a visa holder makes a request to be given visa evidence and pays the visa evidence charge, the officer must give the visa holder this evidence.

The amount of the visa evidence charge will be prescribed in the migration regulations and will be subject to the maximum charge limit set out in the Migration (Visa Evidence) Charge Bill 2012. In appropriate circumstances, the visa evidence charge may well be nil.

The bill will also insert regulation-making powers to allow regulations to be made to specify different amounts of visa evidence charged for different forms of visa evidence, different classes of visas, different methods of payments, where the person elects to have the request dealt with expeditiously or for requests made in different circumstances.

The regulations will also prescribe the circumstances in which the visa evidence charge may be waived, refunded or remitted, as well as specifying those persons who will be exempt from the charge.

I commend the bill to the House.

Debate adjourned.