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Tuesday, 16 September 1958

Mr DOWNER (Angas) (Minister for Immigration) , - I move -

Ar the end of clause. 9, add the following subclause: - " (2.) The last preceding sub-section does not apply in relation to a temporary entry permit upon or after a re-entry of the holder into Australia after having left Australia if -

(a)   within six months before that re-entry, an authorized officer made a notation on the entry permit to the effect that the permit would not be invalidated by absence of the holder from Australia; and

(b)   at the time of the re-entry, the entry per mit has not, or had not, expired or been cancelled.".

Sir, thepurpose of this amendment is to obviate the need for fresh temporary entry permits to be issued to Asian students each time they return to Australia after vacation in their home countries. Whereas the normal entry permit granted to migrants will, as the committee by now knows, take the form of simple stamps placed in their passports, temporary entry, permits, issued to. Asians, entering Australia for prolonged periods in order to study or operate as merchants or in other respects, will be issued as separate documents identifying the holders and setting out the conditions of their admission.

I think the committee will agree that, it will be much more convenient for the holders, and certainly more efficient from a departmental point of view, if such permits, once issued, can be made good for the whole period of the applicant's stay here:. For example, in the case of Asian students the permits would be for the whole period of their courses of study, without being invalidated by absence from Australia.

As honorable members will realize, quite a large proportion of the 5,000 and more overseas students in this country naturally desire to return to their homelands once a year for the long vacation, and quite substantial effort will be saved all concerned if they can apply to an authorized officer before leaving to have their permits kept valid pending such time as they return.

I do not think it would be particularly desirable if this facility were to be extended to absences for a long period, and so the amendment I have moved contemplates a maximum absence of six months. I think honorable members will agree that that is time enough for the purposes that I have in mind.

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