Immigration has been a hot-button issue in Australia’s political debate this week, with the Opposition calling for tougher restrictions, and some of its most conservative members expressing scepticism about the idea.
What is immigration?
Immigration is a legal process by which foreign nationals enter Australia for a period of two years.
In theory, it should be voluntary, but it has been made illegal under a range of laws since the early 1980s.
The Government says it is needed to control immigration and to encourage businesses to hire locally.
It is not clear what the effect of any changes would be on people seeking to enter Australia, though the Government has indicated that the measures will likely not affect people already in Australia.
What are the problems with the system?
In practice, immigration has been complicated by Australia’s complex and ever-changing laws.
Some people who have entered the country illegally are now protected under the Refugee Convention and can stay.
However, it is often difficult to get people in to Australia.
The country also has a complicated system for people who want to come to Australia on a temporary basis, but they need to apply for visas under a variety of rules and procedures.
Many are concerned about the effect these changes could have on those who have been granted asylum or have been given protection visas.
Who is affected?
People in Australia are not always included in discussions about immigration.
However the Australian Government says that the most affected groups are the most vulnerable, and they are those who face significant financial hardship and are currently living in a remote area or who have no work.
These people are often people who can’t work and live in remote communities.
Those who are able to work are often considered to be more likely to be victims of crime.
There are also concerns that some people who are already here may be discouraged from seeking to apply.
If there are changes to the way that people are counted, those who enter the country on a visa will now be included in the numbers.
What can I do?
The Government has set out the proposed changes to immigration law for a further six months.
In doing so, it has set up a new system to count visa applications, and a new section of the Citizenship and Immigration Act.
The changes include: The new rules for visa applications for people coming to Australia as refugees and asylum seekers will be published in the Federal Register in the coming weeks.
The number of visa applications will be reduced from a maximum of six to two.
The visa applications system will now operate by appointment only, and applications will not be made on the phone.
Applications for a permanent resident visa will be prioritised.
The new system will be rolled out over a three-month period.
Those in the country for a year will not need to provide evidence of financial hardship, or to have an employment permit.
The change will apply to new applications for a tourist visa, which will be issued on the same day as the new visa applications are issued.
Visa applications for overseas students will not apply to anyone who already has a work permit.
Anyone in the UK and Canada who has been in Australia for more than five years will also no longer be required to provide proof of financial hardships.
Changes to the immigration rules for skilled migration are also being rolled out.
These include changes to what happens if you are a worker in a business that is temporarily overseas.
The Business Visas Australia, the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Legislation Amendment Bill 2016 will be introduced to the Senate this week.
The government says that these changes will help to ensure that people from Australia who have made a genuine and good faith effort to obtain a work visa can continue to do so, while those from Australia for business reasons are not.
They will also provide certainty to Australian employers who are concerned that they may lose jobs to overseas workers.
Where can I find more information?
Read more about the changes to visa applications and the proposed system for skilled immigration.