Draft refugee, asylum seeker and immigration rights policy

Draft refugee, asylum seeker and immigration rights policy

Preamble

Australia’s immigration policy should be non-discriminatory on the grounds of nationality, ethnic origin, religion, language, gender, disability, sexuality, age, socio-economic background or skills.

Australia has a humanitarian and legal obligation to accept refugees.

Most refugees do not want to leave their homes. If measures were taken to stop global warming, if rich nations didn’t send troops to invade poor nations, and if rich nations stopped backing dictatorships or governments which are occupying another people’s land, then the number of refugees in the world would be far smaller. If multinationals stopped destroying local economies in developing nations, then the number of economic refugees would be far smaller.

Policy

  1. End the policy of mandatory detention, close all detention centres, and free all asylum seekers imprisoned within them. Allow asylum seekers to live in the community while their claims are being processed.
  2. Abolish the concept of a "safe third country" which is used to screen out those who would otherwise be assessed as refugees.
  3. Return Christmas Island, Ashmore and Cartier islands, and Cocos (Keeling) islands to Australia's migration zone.
  4. Establish a category of complementary protection for those not found to be refugees under the UNHCR definition, but who face persecution if they were to be returned to the country they fled from.
  5. End all deportations of asylum seekers.
  6. Immediately restore the annual refugee resettlement quota to at least its pre-1990s level of 20,000.
  7. Immediately resettle all UNHCR-assessed refugees stranded in Indonesia and Malaysia, neither of which is a signatory to the UN refugee convention.
  8. End the deals with the Indonesian, Malaysian and Sri Lankan governments to stop refugees coming to Australia under the guise of “stopping people smuggling”.
  9. Recognise as grounds for refugee status gay and lesbian discrimination and violence against women, where the government in question condones or permits it.
  10. Institute a program for accepting climate, especially from countries in the Asia-Pacific region.
  11. Expand the definition of refugee to include people fleeing economic hardship e.g. where Australian multinationals have destroyed the environment that people depend on for their economic livelihood.
  12. No biometric testing of asylum seekers.
  13. Establish contact with asylum seekers who have been deported by previous governments to assess whether they are still at risk and in need of asylum.
  14. Abolish the Refugee Review Tribunal; replace with a fully independent merits review tribunal for refugees to appeal against adverse decisions.
  15. Restore access to all levels of judicial appeal; allow adverse decisions to be appealed on matters of substance as well as matters of law.
  16. Extend and ensure adequate funding for specialist services for settlement, including assistance with recognition of skills.
  17. Equal access for asylum seekers to the full range of social security, health, housing, transport, education and employment services as other Australians. Access to post-trauma counselling for asylum seekers.
  18. Free and widely-available English classes for all migrants and refugees.
  19. Full citizenship rights, including the right to vote, for all migrants and refugees.
  20. Abolish the pro-business points system which favours skilled and wealthy business migrants.
  21. Abolish the requirement for sponsors to pay an up-front bond.
  22. Abolish the two-year waiting period for new migrants to access social security payments.
  23. End unequal treatment for gay men, lesbians and transgendered people in immigration; recognition of same-sex relationships.
  24. Withdraw the requirement to pass a health checkup in order to get a visa.
  25. Give preference to places for migrants from poor countries, especially countries in the Asia-Pacific region.
  26. Abolish all family reunion waiting lists, and remove the quota restriction so that partners, siblings, parents and extended families can be reunited in Australia if they choose. End deportations that are likely to result in families being split up.
  27. Ensure that no family unit is forcibly separated by Australian immigration assessment processes.
  28. End policy of deporting permanent residents who have committed a crime after served their sentence.
  29. Abolish the citizenship test.
  30. Abolish 457 visas and allow workers who come to Australia temporarily or permanently to have all the full rights of citizenship.
  31. End practice where the immigration department automatically rejects the majority of visitor visa applications from people in Third World countries.