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Bartlett supports expansion and fast-tracking of skilled migration: humanitarian claims should also be streamlined.

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Media Statement Thursday 20th March 2008

ANDREW BARTLETT Senator for Queensland


Humanitarian claims should also be streamlined

The federal Immigration Minister's aims to fast-track skilled worker visas and consider helping with the wider labour shortage through Pacific Island workers should be supported, according to Queensland Democrat Senator Andrew Bartlett.

Senator Bartlett said the genuine need to ensure migrant workers are protected from exploitation should not be used as an excuse to put barriers in the way of valuable and needed migration.

"Migrants and refugees do not 'take Australian jobs'. They enhance our economy, and often that of their home countries. With adequate settlement support, they also have a very positive social and cultural impact," Senator Bartlett said.

Senator Bartlett also called for improving the system for deciding the applications of people in Australia seeking visas on humanitarian grounds.

"The processes for deciding the applications of people with strong humanitarian claims but who fall outside the terms of the Refugee Convention are hopelessly inefficient and lacking in transparency."

The Senate today debated Senator Bartlett's legislation which would improve the efficiency and fairness of humanitarian claims in Australia by adopting a 'complementary protection' visa category.

"Our migration laws and systems are absurdly complicated and full of unnecessary hurdles and barriers.

"The Minister's efforts to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the skilled migration program should extend to the processing of humanitarian and protection claims in Australia," Senator Bartlett said.

Media contact - Tracee McPate - 0417 607 655

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