Under the new migration rules, most temporary visas will be subject to a condition that will enable the Immigration Department to cancel a person’s visa if they are found to be involved in online vilification based on gender, sexuality, religion, and ethnicity.
According to the Migration Legislation Amendment Regulations 2017 that came into effect on 18th November, an existing condition, 8303 has been amended to expand its scope.
The condition that earlier applied to only a few visas is now applicable to most temporary visas applied for on or after 18 November 2017.
The Immigration Minister now has the power to cancel a visa if there is evidence of a visa holder engaging in harassment, stalking, intimidation, bullying or threatening a person even if it doesn’t amount to a criminal sanction. These activities may include public ‘hate speech’ or online vilification targeted at both groups and individuals based on gender, sexuality, religion, and ethnicity.
Over 47,000 visas had been cancelled between July 2016 and April 2017 due to a variety of reasons, including breach of visa conditions. Visa holders now need to be cautious both in the virtual as well as the real world.
The Immigration Department says its officers have the discretion to determine whether the condition has been breached. They also have the discretion to not cancel the visa even when the condition has been breached.