On Wednesday 14 March 2018 the Minister for Home Affairs, the Hon Peter Dutton MP, asked the Committee to inquire into and report on the review processes associated with visa cancellations made on criminal grounds. The Committee was to have particular regard to:
the efficiency of existing review processes as they relate to decisions made under section 501 of the Migration Act;
present levels of duplication associated with the merits review process; and
the scope of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal’s jurisdiction to review ministerial decisions
The Committee’s report is focussed on the inquiry’s terms of reference. The introductory chapter provides an outline of the conduct of the inquiry and an explanation of the current visa cancellation provisions and processes, including the role played by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) in reviewing decisions. This chapter also includes statistics on visa cancellations and reviews.
Chapter 2 analyses the efficiency of existing review processes, firstly considering how visa cancellations may help to protect the Australian community, then looking at the AAT’s processes, and the efficiency of mandatory cancellation and review in the Department of Home Affairs. The chapter seeks to answer whether there is any duplication associated with merits review.
Chapter 2 also looks at the issues of detention and non-refoulement, in terms of how these impact efficiency in the system.
Chapter 3 considers the impacts of visa cancellations on long-term residents, Australian citizens and minor children, and citizens of New Zealand. Then looks at the scope of AAT merits review, the appropriateness of merits review in cases of violent and sexual crimes, and the role of merits reviews in cases of minor criminality.
Also considered is the role of victims in the merits review process, issues of public confidence in merits review, and ways in which visa cancellations and merits review could be strengthened.