Home Secretary Clare O’Neil calls for inquiry into ‘broken’ immigration system


Home Secretary Clare O’Neil acknowledges Australia’s immigration system is broken as the federal government calls for an investigation in a bid to root out criminal syndicate infiltration of the visa process.

Articles in the Nine newspapers alleged that the visa system was used to facilitate sex slavery and human trafficking.

This included a man who served time in prison in the UK for his role in an illegal sex ring before setting up a similar operation in Australia on a student visa.

Ms O’Neil said the reports revealed “grotesque” problems in the immigration system.

“It’s absolutely clear to me that there are systemic abuses of the system happening right now,” she told the ABC’s RN Breakfast.

“We need to make sure, first, that we address the crime issues that are being alleged here by the media right now.”

Ms O’Neil said the nine reports put questions to former Home Secretary and now Leader of the Opposition, Peter Dutton.

“We had Peter Dutton talking tough about borders for nine years, effectively, and yet at the same time presiding over a system that allowed these things to happen.”

Nationals leader David Littleproud said the criminals must be put down.

“There are always people trying to do the wrong thing, under any government,” he said.

“How many inquiries and how many more consultations does this mob want to do?”

Labor issues to consider

Former bureaucrat Martin Parkinson, labor migration legal expert Joanna Howe and former Ministerial Advisory Council on Skilled Migration member John Azarias will conduct the review.

Former bureaucrat Martin Parkinson will be one of three people to lead the review which was reported at the Jobs and Skills Summit in September.(7.30 Report)

It was first reported at the Jobs and Skills Summit in September.

While the review aims to clean up the immigration system, it will also seek to harness the opportunities that skilled migration can provide to address labor shortages.

“It’s a very important piece of the puzzle, we have some of the best and brightest people in the world who want to come here and settle in Australia,” Ms O’Neil said.

The government hopes migration can be used to boost the workforce in the increasingly stretched care sector.

“Migration reform is about looking at the big economic transformations that the country needs to make because we want to be a high-skilled, high-wage economy, and the migration system can help us achieve that,” Ms O’ said. Neil.

Ms O’Neil said the skilled occupations list did not operate on an “evidence-based process” and would not rule out scrapping it.

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