In the past, Australia has denied travel visas to R&B singer Chris Brown and boxing star Floyd Mayweather due to domestic violence convictions. They’re taking this stand against domestic violence one step further by barring any visitor with a domestic violence charge against women or children from entering Australia.
The law came into effect on Feb. 28 and applies to all offenders regardless of where they’re from, where they committed the crime or what their sentence was. In addition, anyone who is currently visiting or living in Australia on a visa and has a record of domestic violence will be kicked out.
The new laws add to existing legislation that withholds or removes visitor visas if the visa holder has been sentenced to 12 months or more in jail.
Immigration Minister David Coleman said in a public statement that, "If you've been convicted of a violent crime against women or children, you are not welcome in this country."
Coleman says the barring of foreigners with a domestic violence sentencing is just one step in the government’s plan to lower domestic violence-related crime in Australia. Last month, Prime Minister Scott Morrison promised funding for emergency accommodation for those escaping domestic violence and long-term safe housing.
“By cancelling the visas of criminals we have made Australia a safer place,” Coleman said in the public statement. “These crimes inflict long lasting trauma on the victims and their friends and family, and foreign criminals who commit them are not welcome in our country.”
The new ruling should make Australia a safer place, but is unwelcome news for foreign offenders who have made Australia their home and will now be asked to leave. New Zealand argues that the policy is forcing New Zealand-born offenders who have served their sentence and have lived most of their life in Australia to leave their chosen home.