News National Back to the future on refugees after High Court rejects policy

Back to the future on refugees after High Court rejects policy

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The Federal Government will seek to restore Temporary Protection Visas for refugees after the High Court rejected its current policy of restricting the number of permanent visas available.  

Immigration Minister Scott Morrison capped the number of protection visas at 2,773 per year after the Senate blocked the Government’s attempts to re-introduce TPVs.

Mr Morrison said the Government will again seek to re-introduce the Howard-era TPVs because it is what the public wants.

“The High Court decision was not unexpected and the contingencies have been in place to deal with the next phase,” he said.

“The easiest way for this to be done is for the Greens and Labor to stop blocking the mandate that this Government received at the last election and to support the Temporary Protection Visas that Australians voted for.”

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The move will have to pass a new-look Senate, with the balance of power in the Upper House set to change next month.

The Greens and refugee advocacy groups argue against TPVs, saying the uncertainty associated with temporary visas can contribute to ongoing mental health problems.

The High Court ruling followed separate applications to the court from two asylum seekers – an Ethiopian boy and a Pakistani man – who were found to be refugees but denied protection visas because of the cap.

It found the Minister did not have the power to limit the number of visas issued within a specific financial year, and ordered Mr Morrison reconsider the asylum seekers’ applications for protection.

Mr Morrison says the Government can do that while maintaining its policy stance, but he is refusing to say how.

“The Australian Government’s policy has not changed. No-one who has come illegally to Australia by boat will get a permanent visa from this Government,” he said.


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