· Deportation involves the forcible removal of a person from a country, for reasons including that they do not have refugee status, they do not have asylum seeker status, they are not authorised to be in the country (e.g. they don’t have an appropriate visa) or their visas have been refused or cancelled on the basis of criminal or other character-related reasons.

· Australia’s current deportation policy states that any person who is not granted permission to remain in Australia must be removed as soon as is practical (unless their status changes- e.g. they become an Australian citizen) [under the Migration Act 1958].The Department of Immigration deports anyone who is unsuccessful in proving their claim for refugee status.

· The Migration Act 1958 also empowers the department to deport a migrant who is sentenced to more than one year in prison for committing a crime. In the past, the immigration department has only done this when a serious crime was committed and the deportation will not have an adverse affect on the criminal’s family. Recently, the Australian government has been using its deportation powers more often.

· An individual who is being deported for the commission of a crime can appeal the decision to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (which will reconsider the merits of their deportation) or to the Federal Court, who can declare the decision invalid.

· A migrant who becomes an Australian citizen cannot be deported.

· This policy is effective as it allows undesirable people (such as criminals who are serving one or more years in prison) to be removed from Australian society and it gives people who are not officially Australian citizens time to lodge applications to change their status (e.g. to prove their refugee status) before they are deported.

By Jacqui Boyton.