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Wednesday, 4 November 1992
Page: 2623


Mr HAND (Minister for Immigration, Local Government and Ethnic Affairs) (9.29 p.m.) —I move:

  That the Bill be now read a second time.

The Migration (Delayed Visa Applications) Tax Bill is part of the migration legislative reforms which will provide more effective measures to detect and remove non-citizens who are unlawfully in Australia. A tax will be imposed on an application for the grant of a visa or entry permit to a non-citizen who has been unlawfully in Australia for 12 months or more. It must be paid before the visa or entry permit may be granted. The tax is intended to serve as an incentive for persons to come forward at an early stage to regularise their status, rather than remaining unlawfully in Australia indefinitely. The tax will be $3,000 for each complete year of unlawful presence in Australia. This amount will be indexed for applications made after the 1992-93 financial year.

  Persons recognised as refugees will be exempt from the tax. The Bill also provides for the Minister to exclude the tax where the Minister determines that payment of the tax would cause an applicant extreme hardship. The prime objective is to deter people from remaining in Australia unlawfully rather than to raise revenue. Thus it is expected that the Bill will have a minimal financial impact. I commend the Bill to the House and present the explanatory memorandum to the Bill.

  Debate (on motion by Mr Ruddock) adjourned.