Aussies overhaul 501 deportation policy

By Will Trafford

A new deportation policy set out by PM Anthony Albanese will see the amount of time criminals have spent in Australia taken into account.
Photo / NZME

Kiwis earmarked for deportation from Australia under its controversial "section 501" policy, will have the amount of time they've spent across the ditch taken into account.

Australia's new Labor government signalled a "common sense" approach would be adopted following its election in May last year.

A new policy as set out by PM Anthony Albanese is now in force according to the country's Department of Home Affairs, which manages the deportations of criminals under Section 501 of its migration act.

"Under these changes the Department of Home Affairs must now consider the length of time someone has lived in the Australian community as one of the primary considerations when determining whether to cancel someone’s visa," the department said in a statement.

"Where individuals pose a risk to the community, the Australian government will continue to cancel their visas and remove them."

Deportations under the 1958 Migration Act are supposed to target the most hardened criminals, who don't hold Australian citizenship.

Many moved as children

However, it has been slammed by deportee advocates due to the number of people who have spent the lion's share of their lives in Australia.

Many moved to Australia as children and have no connection to the country to which they are deported; advocates say their criminal behaviours are developed in Australia.

Under Australia's previous Conservative government, dozens of requests from the New Zealand government to then prime minister Scott Morrison and home affairs minister Peter Dutton (now opposition leader) to soften the policy were rebuffed.

Some 300 New Zealanders had applications to be deported lodged against them in the year to March 2021 but, following the new Labor government's election, there appears to be some evidence that appeals against deportation have been more fruitful.