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Crackdown On Criminal Immigrants Trying To Get Aussie Citizenship

Peter Dutton will decide who can stay

Crackdown On Criminal Immigrants Trying To Get Aussie Citizenship

Pic: Getty 

The long-awaited changes to Australian citizenship will be debated in federal parliament this week.

It will include the tough new testing and English-language rules for applicants that were announced a few months ago, but the Immigration Minister will introduce legislation that gives him ultimate power to reject people who "don't deserve to be in our country".

Peter Dutton will have the right to overrule citizenship decisions made by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal if it is in the public's interest to do so.

According to the Courier Mail, a foreign paedophile, a people smuggler and a convicted killer had their rejected citizenship applications overturned after appealing to the AAT.

"We are cancelling visas, if people we believe don't deserve to be in our country as a non-citizen and I'm just not going to change that practice," Dutton said.

"We are going to continue to look at these individual cases where the AAT overturns a decision, in certain circumstances I have the ability to reinstate my original decision but it's just a long process and it costs us millions of dollars defending these cases in the courts."

Young migrants can also have their citizenship refused and visa revoked if they fail a character test.

Dutton says the recent APEX gang violence in Melbourne is a perfect example.

"My view is that if 15, 16, 17-year-olds are involved in adult-like criminal behaviour, at the moment they might be on an automatic pathway to citizenship because their parents have been granted citizenship, what I'm saying is that they need to conduct themselves within the law, if they don't and they fail that character test they could stay on a permanent visa but they won't be getting citizenship."

The bill is expected to be sent to a Senate committee for detailed examination before it comes to a vote.