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Proposed Migration Law Changes Deemed A Backward Step to Multiculturalism

by | Apr 4, 2024 | Migration

The Australian Financial Review recently released an article, written by Gus McCubbling and Samantha Hutchinson, interviewing one of Nevett Ford’s senior migration lawyers, Heather Dzviti, about her views on the migration law changes proposed by the Labor government.

Labor’s plan to implement broad immigration changes was blocked by the opposition with help from the Greens, One Nation and other crossbenchers in the Senate just before the Easter holidays.

Under the proposed laws, failing to cooperate with deportation as a failed asylum seeker could result in a prison sentence of up to five years. Additionally, provisions allowing the government to prohibit visitors from countries unwilling to accept involuntary returnees have sparked outrage among migrants. They argue that such measures effectively bar their families from visiting Australia, even on tourist visas. This has particularly affected migrants from Zimbabwe, South Sudan, Iran, Iraq, and Russia, who feel unfairly targeted by the proposed legislation.

In the article, Heather Dzviti expressed her alarm over these developments. She anticipates difficult conversations with her family in Harare, as the possibility of them meeting her daughter, Ana, hangs in the balance. Expressing her disappointment, Ms. Dzviti emphasizes that she believed Australia was an inclusive nation that had made significant progress, making the proposed laws all the more shocking and disturbing to her.

Ms. Dzviti’s personal journey mirrors the contribution many migrants make to Australia. Having arrived in the country in 2007 at the age of 19, she pursued a double degree at Deakin University. Her sister, Imelda, followed suit in 2018 and has since worked tirelessly as a nurse, particularly during the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Heather emphasizes her sister’s dedication as emblematic of Zimbabweans’ contributions to Australia, spanning healthcare, financial services, and aged care sectors.

In light of these contributions, Ms. Dzviti urges the government to reconsider the proposed policy and its implications for migrants and the bilateral relationship between Australia and countries affected by these laws. She sees the proposed legislation as a disheartening setback for migrants who have worked hard to build their lives and contribute positively to Australian society.