Turnbull, Dutton
Australia's Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull (L) and Minister for Immigration and Border Protection Peter Dutton speak on Australia's citizenship test during a press conference at Parliament House in Canberra, Australia, April 20, 2017. Reuters/Lukas Coch

For a “variety of reasons,” the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) cancelled over 27,000 visas in the first half of the current financial year, department secretary Michael Pezzullo has confirmed in an Estimates Hearing. The DIBP is looking to utilise more modern technologies, thus deeming the additional number of personnel no longer necessary.

The department also found nearly 8,000 unlawful non-citizens, which included over 1,000 illegitimate workers. Border Force Commissioner (ABF) Roman Quaedvlieg said that the organisation is working with other agencies to identify and cancel visas of non-citizens linked to criminal activities including gang violence.

The DIBP cancelled more than 2,000 visas on character grounds, SBS reported. Some 820 applicants were denied visas on the same grounds between December 2014 and December 2016.

More than 60,000 visas were cancelled by the department in the last financial year. One fourth of these were due to overstaying in the country.

What it means for businesses

Meanwhile, business leaders in mining, health care, finance and property sectors gathered at the Australian Council of Superannuation Investors annual conference in Melbourne last week to voice out concerns about the visa changes. Chairman-elect of Oz Minerals and Investa Office Management chairman Rebecca McGrath said there are necessary roles for immigrant labour.

The Business Council of Australia was quick to express dismay over the Turnbull government’s intent to axe the 457 visa and replace it with tighter two-year and four-year "temporary skill shortage" visas. Woodside Petroleum, the country’s largest oil and gas pureplay, argued that the move to scrap the 457 visa system means losing technical skills Australia “badly” needs.

Graincorp chairman Graham Bradley has warned that the new visa scheme will hit executive recruitment, Australian Financial Review reports. Gregory Robinson, executive recruiter at Blenheim Partners, revealed clients opting to withdraw offers and opportunities to C-suite executive's off-shore since they are only allowed a two-year work visa.

Parental visa: 'blackmail and deceit'

Earlier this month, the Turnbull government also announced a new $20,000 parental visa that would allow parents of migrants to stay in the country for up to ten years. But for Arvind Duggal, who led a campaign for a long-stay parental visa, the new scheme turned out to be a deceit. “After the announcement (of the visa) last year, people voted for Liberals in election believing they will get to live with their parents longer. But it turns out to be a deceit. It’s blackmailing,” SBS quotes him.

In case you missed it:

No more 457 visa. PM Malcolm Turnbull has announced the 457 visa would be replaced with the completely new Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa in March 2018. This move is supposed to put jobs first and Australians first. Here's the story.

Introducing: STSOL, MLTSSL. In the new visa program, Consolidated Sponsored Occupation List (CSOL) would be renamed as Short-term Skilled Occupations List (STSOL), valid for two years. Skilled Occupations List (SOL), valid for a maximum of four years, would be called the new Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL). Read: Australia's new 457visa: Changes, requirements and validity period

$20K for migrant parents. A new visa for migrant parents would allow them to stay for up to ten years in Australia for $20,000. However, they are barred from settling in the country. Here's the story.

Video source: India Today/YouTube