Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Restoring TPVs to resolve Labor's legacy caseload

Download PDFDownload PDF

Scott Morrison MP

Minister for Immigration and Border Protection

Restoring TPVs to resolve labor's legacy caseload

Thursday, 25 September 2014

The Coalition Government has secured support of the Palmer United Party to reintroduce Temporary Protection Visas (TPVs) to assist resolving Labor's legacy caseload of 30,000 Illegal Maritime Arrivals (IMAs).

'We are stopping the boats, with just one venture having arrived this year, and we are now seeking to resolve the backlog of 30,000 IMAs who arrived under the previous government by restoring TPVs,' Minister Morrison said.

'TPVs were foolishly abolished by Labor and the Greens in 2008 in their pursuit of weaker borders, providing a product for people smugglers to sell.

'The support of the Palmer United Party to restore TPVs through legislation to be introduced this week after they were abolished by Labor and the Greens following the last election is welcome.

'We will continue to engage other crossbenchers on our proposals. The discussions we have had to date have been very positive.

'Denying permanent protection visas to IMAs has been Coalition policy for over a decade and was overwhelmingly backed by the Australian people at the election.

'Under new legislation - the Migration and Maritime Powers Legislation Amendment (Resolving the Asylum Legacy Caseload) Bill 2014 - two new temporary visas will be established. These visas will not provide a pathway to a permanent protection visa in Australia.

'IMAs found to be owed protection will be offered a TPV for up to 3 years. TPVs do not include family reunion or a right to re-enter Australia. Holders will have access to targeted support arrangements including: work rights, access to employment services and mutual obligation, access to Medicare and income support, torture and trauma counselling, translating and interpreting services, complex case support and access to education for school aged children.

'A further temporary visa, a Safe Haven Enterprise Visa (SHEV) - where holders work in a designated self-nominated regional area to encourage filling of job vacancies - will be introduced as an alternative to a TPV.

'SHEVs will be valid for 5 years and like TPVs will not include family reunion or a right to depart and re-enter Australia.

'SHEV holders who have worked in regional Australia without requiring income support for three and a half years of their visa period will then be eligible to apply for other onshore visas to be granted where they satisfy the relevant criteria. They will not be eligible for a permanent protection visa.

'If a SHEV holder was to access government assistance to study for a degree, diploma or trade certificate in a designated regional area, this would not be classified as accessing social security benefits for the purposes of calculating the period required before the holder becomes eligible to apply for other onshore visas.

'The new visa arrangements will allow the government to commence processing asylum claims of the legacy caseload. More rapid processing and streamlined review arrangements, as detailed at the election, will be implemented.

'Any further delays in processing or repeated processing of claims simply adds to cost and uncertainty and prevents people getting on with their lives.

'Upon passage of the Migration and Maritime Powers Legislation Amendment (Resolving the Asylum Legacy Caseload) Bill 2014 and the Migration Amendment (Protection and Other Measures) Bill 2014 the government will agree to process IMAs currently on Christmas Island and the mainland who arrived last year and who have not been transferred to Nauru or Manus Island, as part of the legacy caseload.

'If found to be refugees they will be provided a TPV or SHEV. They will not be eligible for a permanent protection visa. These visas only apply to those IMAs who are part of the legacy caseload.

'All IMAs already transferred to Nauru or Manus Island will remain subject to the offshore processing policy, regardless of their date of arrival. They will remain on Nauru or Manus Island, where their asylum claims will be assessed. Under this policy, they will not be resettled in Australia.

'Furthermore, any and all new illegal maritime arrivals will continue to be transferred to Manus Island or Nauru for offshore processing and resettlement, as was demonstrated by the recent ‘Indian' venture where all 157 IMAs were sent to Nauru. This will apply in all such cases, without exception, as a necessary part of our border protection regime that is successfully stopping the boats.

'The Government will also continue to support Assisted Voluntary Return (AVR) packages for those in the legacy caseload, particularly as a mechanism to reunite unaccompanied minors with their families in their home countries.

'I thank the Palmer United Party for their support of temporary protection visas. The Coalition Government is stopping the boats, restoring integrity to our immigration programme and can now get on with the job of resolving Labor's legacy of failed border protection,' Minister Morrison said.