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While the 457 “crackdown” comprised the most publicised aspects of migration law changes implemented by the government on 1 July 2013, a lesser-known change was introduced to the onshore partner visa processing regime that prohibits applicants from lodging onshore partner visa applications in person at DIAC Offices.

 

Zeke Bentley, Principal Lawyer of The Migration Place, commented:

“I am constantly perplexed at the Australian government’s (Labour and Liberal alike) enthusiasm for changing the goal posts on a regular basis.

Since I became a registered migration lawyer in 2002, I have seen countless pointless and destructive changes to the system.

These changes just damage our international reputation as a place for people to migrate to, and therefore reduce the quality of migrants to Australia.

Retrospective changes were also introduced on 1 July 2013, and all lawyers are taught in year one that retrospective laws are bad, as they erode certainty.

Given Australia’s growth has been fuelled by migrants (and the associated influx of skills, labour and motivation) I am dumbfounded at the government’s regular tinkering with the system. Political agendas really need to be put to one side.

I literally quiver whenever a federal election is coming up as I know there will be raft of unnecessary changes made, and a lot of xenophobic political bleeting about boat people and refugees.

We quickly forget that after mining and industry, foreign students were the 3rd biggest contributor to the Australian economy until 4 years ago when the government decided to change the skills that would permit students to seek residency.

The direct cost to the Australian economy on that issue alone is in excess of ten billion dollars every year, and we are literally compelling foreign students to take their skills and education and capital to other countries by reneging on our assurance that they would secure a visa if they studied certain skills here.

It is embarrassing, economically destructive and downright stupid to destroy the hopes of these students, and their family’s investment in their futures.

Please Mr Rudd, let’s get a system which is stable and stop messing with it.”

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