Hong Kong residents currently living in Australia and who have been granted a five-year visa extension may not necessarily be able to receive permanent residency.
Acting Immigration Minister Alan Tudge has warned that seeking a path to permanent residency will be conditional on being of good character.
This, presumably, means that those who engage in criminal activity or are found guilty of an offence during their extended stay will be unwelcome once their visa expires.
Those with ‘character concerns’ will be sent back to Hong Kong
“What we are saying is that people will have the opportunity to apply for permanent residency. But, I mean, if there’s a serious security issue in relation to that person, they’ll be sent back,” Tudge said during a discussion on the ABC political program Insiders.
“If there’s a character concern, they’ll be sent back,” he reiterated.
He emphasised that Hong Kong residents would have to pass the same assessments that were mandatory for all visas issued by Australian authorities. Passing these, he said, was the pathway to permanent residency.
“If they apply [for permanent residency] and they don’t breach their conditions, it’s likely that they’ll be able to stay,” Tudge said.
He also noted that anyone from Hong Kong who was refused permanent residency and told to leave Australia could apply to be accepted as a refugee, providing they could prove that they would likely be subject to persecution if they were returned to Hong Kong.
There are currently nearly 140 people seeking asylum in Australia.
Australia wants to attract Hong Kong’s business talent
Addressing the topic of business migration from Hong Kong, Tudge said Australia was keen to attract some of the business talent that Hong Kong is well known for.
“What we’ve done is that we’ve offered particular visas for people to come here, and particularly the global talent who is residing there,” he said.
“And we’ve also signalled that we want to get some of the businesses who want to move locations to come to Australia as a great destination for them to set up shop.”