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Tuesday, 19 August 1980
Page: 18

Mr DOBIE (COOK, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I ask the Minister for Immigration and Ethnic Affairs whether his attention has been drawn to recent Press reports which state that some illegal immigrants coming forward to claim amnesty believe they will be deported at the expiry of their newly gained residence permits which have been given to legalise their status and allow them to work while their applications are being checked. Can the Minister assure the House that details of the Regularisation of Status Program are now being fully explained by officers of his Department to all such residents who are coming forward for interview? Can he advise the House how many illegal immigrants have come forward as a result of the ROSP policy, how many six-monthly temporary entry permits have been issued and, finally, how many applications for permanent residence have been approved and granted since the Minister's policy statement about the Regularisation of Status Program?

Mr MACPHEE (BALACLAVA, VICTORIA) (Minister Assisting the Treasurer) - The Regularisation of Status Program has been well and truly explained through all ethnic media. Every few weeks I make a recording which is broadcast throughout Australia on all ethnic radio programs. It is translated into 42 or 43 languages. Not only are we getting coverage in the ethnic Press but also we are advertising to explain the program far and wide. The response has been excellent so far. As at 1 5 August, there were 1 3,244 inquiries. Pursuant to those inquiries, 9,324 applications have been given out and over 7,000 of those are currently being processed. In respect of the advice given to persons when they go for interview, they are assured that they will be allowed to stay beyond the period of that temporary permit. It is unfortunate that some people - I am not accusing anyone associated with the Opposition - have still sought to create some mischief and to sow some misapprehension in the minds of persons who can benefit from the program. I expressly not only exempt members of the Opposition from that statement but also I wish to thank members of the Opposition, in particular the Shadow Minister for Immigration and Ethnic Affairs, for their cooperation and support in promoting this program. I hope that all members of this House and of this Parliament will encourage anyone who can benefit from the program to come forward and undergo interviews with departmental officers.

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