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Australia Immigration Visa System Broken: Minister

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Australia’s Home Affairs Minister has said the country’s immigration system is broken and potentially subject to criminal exploitation.

Speaking to ABC Radio on Nov. 7, Home Affairs and Cyber Security Minister Clare O’Neil, when asked if she thought the current visa immigration system was broken and being used to commit crimes like sex slavery and human trafficking, agreed.

“It is. There are very significant problems with the immigration system today,” O’Neil said.

The comments come after a joint investigation by the Nine Network, the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, titled ‘Trafficked’ alleged that the immigration system was being rorted by criminal syndicates involved in human trafficking and organised crime.

Epoch Times Photo
Then-Australian Federal Police detective superintendent Paula Hudson at the Australian Centre for Child Exploitation offices in Brisbane, Australia on Sep. 2, 2020. (PATRICK HAMILTON/AFP /AFP via Getty Images)

According to the report, the Australian immigration system has a serious problem with visa agents running what the investigation called “visa farms,” which engage in the rorting of migration visas to Australia, including using protection visas reserved for humanitarian reasons for criminal purposes.

“I would just say that it’s absolutely clear to me that there are systemic abuses of the system occurring at the moment,” the minister said.

“So, we’ve got obviously the exploitation of human beings occurring in our country, we are going to get on top of that, and that work is already underway with the AFP and Australian Border Force.”

Albanese Government Migration Review Gets Underway

The comments from the minister come as she announced on Nov. 7 that Dr. Martin Parkinson AC PSM, Dr. Joanna Howe and John Azarias would head up a comprehensive review of Australia’s migration system.

The review will engage with migrants, unions, businesses, State and Territories governments and key stakeholder groups. It will also focus on specific concerns like the conduct of people and migration agents in the system, with action already being taken on those individuals.

“This review and a new national strategy, A Migration System for Australia’s Future, will ensure the migration system serves Australia’s national interests and complements the skills and capabilities of Australian workers,” O’Neil said.

“The Strategy will outline the objectives of our migration system and guide future reform. It will focus on enhancing Australia’s productivity and providing businesses with the skilled workers they need while assisting migrants to build new and prosperous lives in Australia.”

Victoria Kelly-Clark


Victoria Kelly-Clark is an Australian based reporter who focuses on national politics and the geopolitical environment in the Asia-pacific region, the Middle East and Central Asia.

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