The Government is moving ahead with its plan to reintroduce an amnesty law that would allow up to 100,000 asylum seekers to come into Australia without fear of deportation.
But it is also considering whether to change the laws that make it easier for people to get a visa and what those changes will mean for the future.
Immigration Minister Scott Morrison says he will consider changes to the rules in order to help the government better manage the influx of people who have sought asylum.
“What I have to do is take a look at what we can do in terms of providing some reassurance that we’re going to be able to accommodate a larger population,” he said.
“I think it’s going to require us to make some changes, particularly to the process of getting an asylum seeker visa.”
The Australian Government is determined to take the refugee situation seriously.
I believe in making sure that we take our share of the burden and I believe we can provide some reassurances that we will be able, for the time being, to take on those people that we’ve taken in.
What will the changes mean for Australia’s asylum seekers? “
In the end, it will be up to the relevant Minister to determine what is in the best interests of the Australian people,” Mr Morrison said.
What will the changes mean for Australia’s asylum seekers?
What you need to know about the new immigration rules.
Australia will be the first country in the world to allow a 100,001 person to come in to the country without fear that they could end up being deported.
This is the same figure used by the European Union, which currently has a cap of 100,002 people.
But under the new rules, asylum seekers who are already here would be eligible to apply to come back, rather than being sent back.
“Australia has already been able to host a lot of asylum seekers.
We have taken in a lot more people than most countries in the region, but we still have a long way to go to accommodate everyone,” Immigration Minister Michaelia Cash said.
But Mr Morrison says the new legislation will help keep the numbers down, especially in the short term.
“We’ll be able [to] take the refugees that are here now, we’ll be looking to take in people that are still here in a year’s time, and we’ll then look to get to a situation where we have enough people to fill the asylum seeker intake,” he told reporters.
“The reality is the vast majority of the people that come to Australia have come here to work, to seek safety and to contribute to our society.”
What is the Immigration Department saying about the changes?
Immigration Minister Steve Ciobo said the changes would not make the Australian Government any more secure than it was before.
“There is no doubt that the changes will be a positive step for Australia and for Australia, but there are many changes we will still need to make,” he tweeted.
“More details to come soon.”
The Department of Immigration and Border Protection said the new laws were necessary because of the increased threat from terrorism and migration, as well as the need to better manage Australia’s ageing population.
“This is the first time that Australia has had a law like this in place for a significant period of time, so it is a significant step forward,” an Immigration Department spokesperson said.