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Government’s ability to deport migrants with disability to face review, after Greens’ push

Key Points
  • Immigration Minister Andrew Giles has agreed to a review of the government’s significant cost threshold mechanism.
  • The mechanism allows the government to deport migrants if they or their child have a health condition or disability.
  • The review is being done in exchange for the Greens supporting the government’s Pacific visa scheme.
A push by the Greens to stop the government from being able to deport migrant families if a child is born with disability has progressed, after a deal was struck with Immigration Minister Andrew Giles.

Giles agreed to a review of a mechanism that provides an exemption to the Disability Discrimination Act, giving the government the power to reject temporary visa applications of people with a health condition or disability, and order families to leave Australia if their child is born with such a condition.

The significant cost threshold allows the government to deport migrant families if they or their child have a health condition or disability that would be “a significant cost to the Australian community” to treat or support.
That threshold is met if it would cost the taxpayer $51,000 over a decade, or $5,100 annually, to treat or support the condition or disability.

The review will be led by the Department of Home Affairs’ chief medical officer.

Greens agree to support Pacific visa scheme

Giles’ acceptance of a review into the mechanism came in exchange for the Greens backing the government’s Pacific visa scheme legislation in the Senate.
Thousands of Pacific Islanders will be offered a path to Australian life after the long-delayed legislation, which the Opposition refused to support, was greenlit.

Greens immigration spokesman Nick McKim said the migration system needed to be fair and inclusive.

“We will continue to stand up for the rights of everyone, no matter where they come from, or their disability,” he said.

“The government needs to respond to this review by ensuring that no child born in Australia to temporary visa holders is deported by the use of the significant cost threshold.”

‘Highly ableist’ policy

the policy was “highly ableist” and the party wanted to see it scrapped.
“This kind of blatant discrimination belongs in the dustbin of history,” McKim said.

“It’s just unconscionable that a family with a child, who is in some cases born in Australia, is at risk of deportation because that child is disabled. We need to change that.”

Minister for Immigration Andrew Giles intervened in March of this year to prevent the deportation of the Perth-based Kollikkara family, which was given less than a month to leave the country because their 10-year-old son had Down syndrome. Source: AAP / Mick Tsikas

Giles had previously conceded the criteria “doesn’t meet community expectations”, and that Labor was working on a solution.

Scheme to allocate 3,000 visas each year

Foreign Affairs Minister Penny Wong said would boost cultural, business and educational exchange within the Pacific region.
The scheme will allocate 3,000 visas to Pacific islanders each year through a ballot process across countries. Those selected will then be able to apply for permanent residency.

To be granted a visa, applicants will still need to meet eligibility criteria including a job offer, health and character requirements.

A woman wearing a blue blazer and white shirt speaking into a microphone.

Penny Wong said the new Pacific visa scheme would “grow the Pacific diaspora in Australia”. Source: AAP / Mick Tsikas

“This will grow the Pacific diaspora in Australia and will further strengthen our people-to-people connections across the Pacific family,” Wong told parliament.

“This visa will ensure more of our closest neighbours can call Australia home.”
The Opposition has refused to support the scheme due to its “lottery” system.

The government has argued the process is already used in New Zealand and will reduce processing times and costs.

https://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/governments-ability-to-deport-migrants-with-disability-to-face-review-after-greens-push/ajdz6o0gk Government’s ability to deport migrants with disability to face review, after Greens’ push

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