The age criminal migrants can be deported could be lowered to 16, Immigration Minister Peter Dutton says.
A federal migration committee is looking at the issue of youth crime gangs, including the potential for children to be deported if they commit crimes in Australia.
“Whether for example the bar can be lowered from 18, to 17 to 16, or whatever the case may be,” Mr Dutton told 3AW on Thursday.
“But we don’t deport children (under the current laws).”
Four adult migrants have had their visas cancelled after they were convicted of crimes in Victoria, and Mr Dutton said more were being investigated.
“Biting the hand the feeds them is not the way we want to run the migration program,” he said.
“If they cherish the life they lead in Australia, they need to start respecting Australians, they need to abide by the law and respect Australian values.”
Mr Dutton also says questions should be asked of anyone who has resided in Australia for a number of years, is able-bodied and of working age, but “hasn’t worked a day since they’ve been here”.
Victorian Police Minister Lisa Neville says the visa cancellations send a strong message to others breaking the law, from all backgrounds.
“We have always said that there are laws in place to deport criminals who are not Australian citizens,” she said in a statement.
“We are dealing with some very serious violent offenders in our community, and using these laws to deport them is entirely appropriate.”
A Victoria Police statement says a number of offenders have been referred for deportation.
“The referral of children under 18 years of age will only occur in exceptional circumstances, however Victoria Police has made some referrals in respect to that age group for consideration,” the statement said.