Visa changes an invitation to smugglers: Opposition
Posted Tue May 26, 2009 6:24am AEST
The Federal Opposition says a proposed overhaul of the bridging visa system would further soften Australia's border protection policies, sending the wrong message to people smugglers.
A Parliamentary inquiry says there need to be changes to how the system works, including offering applicants increased assistance to health care, legal services and accommodation.
The Greens say the changes do not go far enough, the Opposition's immigration spokeswoman Sharman Stone says the recommendations would allow people into the community before they have had their identity and security status checked.
“That is just another message right now that I think is very unhelpful as the people smugglers literally get bigger and bigger boats, and become more and more active in what is a very dangerous and inhumane trade,” she said.
“The message says, 'Look, we're not even going to complete all of your identity checks before we pass you into Perth or Adelaide or some other community where you can work, where you'll be given unemployment benefits if you can't get a job, where we'll find you decent accommodation'.”
The ABC has contacted the Immigration Minister Chris Evans for comment.