One hundred and eighty eight foreign criminals, including suspected members or associates of bikie gangs, have had their visas cancelled in the last two months under tough new mandatory cancellation provisions.
The Minister for Immigration and Border Protection Peter Dutton said the new power, which applies to non-citizens who commit serious crimes in Australia, was introduced in December.
Mr Dutton said the changes reaffirmed the Government's strong commitment to protecting the Australian community from the risk of harm as a result of criminal activity or other serious conduct by non-citizens.
The visa cancellations have been made for non-citizens who have been convicted of serious crime such as murder, rape, sexual assault and drug related crimes.
"Eighty of those whose visas have been cancelled are currently in immigration detention, 101 remain serving sentences in prison and seven have been removed from Australia," Mr Dutton said.
"The new power is tougher, but still fair. People cancelled under this power can apply to have the decision revoked, but they need to do so in a strict timeframe. They will also need to provide good reasons why they should get their visa back.
"In the meantime, people still onshore who are seeking revocation of the cancellation decision will either be in immigration detention or still serving their sentences in prison, and not in the community."
"While I do not wish to jeopardise ongoing operations, it should be no secret that my Department works very closely with other law enforcement agencies on such cases.
"I have asked my Department to continue to refer high risk cases to me, personally, to consider cancelling or refusing a visa," Mr Dutton said.
Mandatory visa cancellation was one of several changes recently introduced to strengthen the powers available to both the Department and the Minister to cancel and refuse visas.
"The vast majority of non-citizens who visit or migrate to Australia are law abiding and make a valuable contribution to society," Mr Dutton said.
"For those few who choose to break the law, the message is clear – coming to or remaining in Australia is not a right, it is a privilege. If you abuse this privilege and are found not to pass the character test, you should expect to have your visa cancelled and be removed from Australia".