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Further action to deny permanent visas to illegal arrivals

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Immigration Minister Scott Morrison 20 December 2013

Further action to deny permanent visas to illegal arrivals

The government has taken further action to honour its promise to deny permanent visas to those who have arrived in Australia illegally by boat, following the decision by the Greens and Labor to disallow Temporary Protection Visas.

Following the Labor/Greens decision in the Senate to disallow temporary protection visas on December 2, the government took immediate action to cap the number of onshore protection visas, to ensure that we honoured our promise to the Australian people and did not honour the promise of people smugglers by providing permanent visas to those who came by boat. The legislative instrument to put the cap in place under s85 of the Act, came into effect on December 4.

At the time of this announcement I noted the cap would impact on onshore applicants who had lawfully entered Australia and made protection claims. I further noted the government would be making announcements to address this issue.

On December 5 I authorised a further regulation change to restrict eligibility for a subclass 866 protection visa to onshore applicants who had entered Australia lawfully. Once this change had been made I intended to lift the cap.

On December 14 the new regulation came into effect and on December 19 I lifted the cap.

The government has a clear and thumping mandate to restore temporary protection visas that is being denied by Labor and the Greens, repeating their worst decision in government that was followed by over 50 000 arrivals on over 800 boats and more than 1100 deaths.

Labor and the Greens voted against what the Australian people voted for, and have voted to honour the promise made by people smugglers to those they lured onto boats that they would get permanent residency in Australia.

Denying permanent residency to those who have already come by boat is as important as ensuring that those who now seek to come are denied settlement in Australia by being sent to Nauru or Manus Island. The fact that Labor does not understand this just highlights again why they can never be trusted to protect our borders. Once again they have shown they are divided, double minded and always deferring to the Greens.

There can be no amnesty on permanent visas for illegal boat arrivals and under this government there will not be.

This government will not give an inch when it comes to protecting our borders and will take every step necessary to ensure that people who have arrived illegally by boat are not rewarded with permanent visas, despite the best efforts of Labor and the Greens.