Aussie immigration order gets safety overhaul

The New Zealand Government was concerned too many Kiwis in Australia were being deported, despite...
The New Zealand Government was concerned too many Kiwis in Australia were being deported, despite having no ties with the nation.
Community safety in Australia will be prioritised in changes to a controversial ministerial direction on immigration, but the opposition says little will be solved.

Direction 99, which prioritised a foreign national's ties with Australia when making visa decisions, has been revoked with a new measure - direction 110 - to come into effect from June 21 this year. 

Direction 110 will give greater weight to community safety when appeals tribunals make decisions on visa cancellations.

Immigration Minister Andrew Giles has been under intense pressure since the Administrative Appeals Tribunal overturned several visa decisions due to direction 99, despite foreign nationals in the cases being found guilty of serious crimes.

"The new revised direction will make crystal clear that the Australian government expects community protection to be given greater weight when it comes to visa decisions," he told reporters in Melbourne on Friday.

"It also elevates the impact on victims of family violence and their families into one of the existing primary considerations."

But opposition leader Peter Dutton criticised the waiting time for the direction to come into effect, saying the measure would not solve concerns put forward by the issues with direction 99.

"This new direction 110 doesn't give much change to circumstance at all, and it will still give rise to the sort of outcomes that we've seen in allowing these people to stay in our community," he said in Melbourne.

"There are people who have fallen victim to these criminals, who have stayed in our country, who should have been deported."

Mr Giles said there were still 10 cases before the appeals tribunal that would be considered under the existing direction 99.

The minister said he would monitor the cases closely should the tribunal decide to reinstate cancelled visas.

"Where appropriate, I'll consider cancellation of any visas granted back in the national interest," he said.

However, Mr Dutton said the updated direction should be able to apply to past decisions.

"It should have immediate effect. It should be retrospective, if at all possible," he said.

"I can't believe that it's taken this long to make such a minor adjustment, which in the end, is still going to allow criminals to stay here."

Direction 99 was created after concern from the New Zealand Government that too many Kiwis were being deported, despite having no ties with the nation.

New Zealand Prime Minister Christopher Luxon had expressed concern with the federal government's decision to overhaul direction 99.

"We need to give a clear signal to decision-makers that decisions should be made based on common sense and the protection of the Australian community. That's what the direction is about," Mr Giles said.

While Mr Giles has come under pressure in the portfolio following the issues with direction 99, Treasurer Jim Chalmers defended his position in the Cabinet.

"It is a difficult job, and I support him completely every day," he told reporters in Brisbane.

"The minister has brought in these changes in a considered way, in response to the legitimate concerns that people have about community safety."