In a recent report of cases portrayed by the Commonwealth Ombudsman, the treatment of New Zealand citizen by the federal governments has elicited a lot of debate. According to Perth Divorce Lawyers, a lot of families have been separated because of the standing policy.
One key case that brought light to the issue, was the case of one New Zealand native who for 14 months has been fading away in immigration detention while his desperate family comprising his mentally challenged wife-who has since taken responsibility of their children-struggles to find their way through.
In a period dating from the beginning of 2014 to around March of 2016, Australia has posted a total of 1219 non-citizens to detention camps immediately they completed their more than a year jail terms and subsequently cancelled their visas following the recent federal government crackdown.
After thorough investigation and research, Colin Neave, the Commonwealth Ombudsman identified an interesting fact with the visa cancellation particularly of foreign convicted criminals-more than 50 % of those cases are Kiwis.
This news has seen an almost instant reaction with an approximate 800 individuals filing for an overturning of Visa cancelations with another almost similar figure (627) still awaiting the final decision on their petitions.
Mr. Neave in an official release put out 9 recommendations in respect to treatment and handling of these convicts and reiterated the need for the department to up their game and hasten the process of handling the logjam of cases and the delays in their processes. In the report, the Ombudsman was quick to identify that visa cancellation news is normally delivered in the final minutes prior to the convict’s release from prison.
The report further identified that among others, the logjams that contributed to the snail-speed’ process in these departments. The major one according to it was the slow-paced delivery of necessary criminal transcripts and records from the courts down to the law enforcers. The backlog was so severe that the minister at times intervened to personally tackle some of them.
· The report outlined a number of recommendations to the department among them:
· Review of format information as the immigration department receives it.
· Create and increase awareness on literacy problems of the prisoners mainly for the staff in the department.
· Prior to issuing their decisions and verdicts on the criminals, the departments should take into consideration convicts’ family situations and make priority cases of convicts with special child caring responsibilities.
Finally, the transfers of some of the detained individuals to locations such as interstate detention camps negatively affected their capacity to cope since it hindered access to family visits the report added.