The Migration and Citizenship Legislation Amendment (Strengthening Information Provisions) Bill
could have “disastrous consequences” for migrants facing visa cancellations.
There are widespread fears that the proposed law allowing visas to be canceled based on secret evidence could deny migrants their right to justice.
The Australian Federal Government says the legislation, which could result in a person being deported or detained without knowing the evidence behind the decision, would prevent the disclosure of confidential information provided by law enforcement or intelligence agencies for use in decisions to refuse or cancel visas on character grounds.
But rights groups and migrant advocates are worried the move amounts to a fundamental breach of procedural fairness by making it more difficult for individuals to challenge visa cancellations.
The Australian Human Rights Commission’s inquiry submission said the proposed law runs counter to legal principles “that the state should not be permitted to rely on secret evidence in cases where a person’s liberty is at stake” and has “substantial human rights implications”.
The UNHCR has also raised concern about the “confidential nature” of the proposed framework amounts to a “further weakening” of Australian law to remain in accordance with international obligations.