Since the closure of the international border in March 2020 and the significantly reduced capacity of commercial flights, the Australian Border Force (ABF) has removed 711 unlawful non-citizens to countries across the world.
In the most recent removal, 31 individuals were removed from Australia on two charter flights after completing their prison sentences. The adults, who had been detained in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth, were returned to Auckland on 16 and 17 February.
Those removed on the 16 February charter included a convicted murder who was jailed for the murder of his girlfriend’s parents in Melbourne.
Two detainees also returned on 16 February had their visas cancelled by the Minister for Home Affairs, Peter Dutton. One individual was linked to an outlaw motorcycle gang and faced convictions primarily relating to drugs and weapons. Another individual was convicted of using a carriage service to access child abuse material and possessing child exploitation material.
Those removed on the 17 February charter included a convicted murderer, and an individual who was convicted in Sydney of using a carriage service to procure a person under 16 and possessing child abuse material on a hard drive.
Other convictions of those removed related to manslaughter, burglary, drug possession, police officer assault, threats to kill, firearm possession and breaches of domestic violence orders.
ABF Assistant Commissioner Tim Fitzgerald said the two flights were further evidence the ABF was working hard to keep the Australian community safe, despite reduced commercial flights due to COVID-19 measures.
“Since the closure of the international border, the ABF has continued to remove people from Australia using both charters and commercial flights. A large number of countries have been represented including the United Kingdom, Italy, Ireland, France, Malta and New Zealand”, Assistant Commissioner Fitzgerald said.
“The majority of those removed on these recent charters had their visas cancelled under section 501 of the Migration Act 1958. Some individuals had clearly been convicted of appalling acts and, as non-citizens who did not satisfy the character test, they had no lawful basis to remain in Australia,” he said.
There are provisions under the Migration Act 1958 that allow the Minister for Home Affairs to cancel a visa if a person is considered to not be of good character. A person can fail the character test for a number of reasons, including but not limited to circumstances where a non-citizen has a substantial criminal record.