The contents of this article are correct as at 30 September 2013.
In September 2013 the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) changed its name to the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) to emphasise the new Liberal government’s commitment to “Stop the Boats”.
On 18 September 2013 the new Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, The Honourable Scott Morrison, was sworn in. The Minister will be responsible for implementing the Liberal government’s hard-line approach to asylum seekers arriving by boat. Now in effect is Operation Sovereign Borders, a directive which employs the Australian Navy to ‘turn back’ asylum seeker boats to prevent them landing in Australia and seeking protection under the Refugees Convention.
To support Operation Sovereign Borders, the Minister has removed access to permanent protection visas for refugees arriving by boat and reintroduced Temporary Protection Visas, which had been abolished under the previous Labour government. In addition, boat arrivals making it to Australia are to be removed from Australia to either Manus Island or Nauru to have their asylum claims processed.
It is unclear at this stage whether the new Liberal government has any other policy objectives which will impact on Australia’s migration program. Historically Liberal governments have relaxed requirements in relation to skilled and business visas but it remains to be seen whether this will be apply in the current political environment.