Administrative Appeals Tribunal overturns more criminal visa decisions
AN Islamic terrorist, a Vietnamese drug trafficker, and a Bangladeshi conman are among criminals whose visa cancellations or refusals have recently been overturned.
AAT members ruled that in two of the cases Australians would be happy to give the criminals “a second chance” by not deporting them.
That on Thursday prompted former tribunal member Simon Jeans to criticise the AAT for overturning so many decisions.
“Having been a member of the Migration Review Tribunal and Refugee Review Tribunals for five years, it is apparent to me that many members of the AAT remain out of touch with community expectations,” Mr Jeans told the Herald Sun.
“Many of them are setting aside decisions made by the Immigration Department to cancel the visas of foreign-born criminals, fake refugees and fake spouses.
“AAT members are thwarting the government’s decision to deport these people, despite most Australians supporting the government’s determination to rid Australia of such people.”
Mr Jeans, an accredited specialist in immigration law, was a member of the Migration Review Tribunal and the Refugee Tribunal for five years until they merged into the AAT in July 2015.
Last week’s Herald Sun report on the AAT’s overturning of a decision by Mr Dutton’s delegate to deport an Apex gang member, 20, prompted Mr Jeans to go public.
AT deputy president Jan Redfern, head of the migration and refugee division, made the ruling despite being told by police of a seven-year “violent and anti-social”crime spree.
“Allowing that Apex gang member to stay in Australia, despite his long criminal record, was a disgraceful decision by the AAT,” Mr Jeans said.
“But several other recent AAT decisions are just as bad.”
He pointed to the recent overruling of a visa refusal for a “Mr Khalil”, who didn’t declare his jailing by an Israeli military court for being a member of an Islamic terrorist group and for conspiracy to cause death.
The criminals the AAT said deserved a “second chance” were Vietnamese Hoang Nguyen, jailed for importing a commercial quantity of an ice precursor; and Faisal Alam, jailed for posing as an immigration official to defraud fellow Bangladeshis of $87,000.
“Collectively, these recent decisions indicate there are still many AAT members who are hopelessly out of touch with what the vast majority of Australians expect of them,” Mr Jeans said.
Mr Jeans alerted the Herald Sun to six cases since August 9 where AAT members overturned deportation and other visa decisions made by Minister Dutton’s delegates — including the Khalil terrorist case.
■ DEPUTY AAT president James Constance overruling a decision by a delegate for Immigration Minister Peter Dutton not to grant the Palestinian husband of Australian citizen Krystal Trikilis a partner visa so he could join her in Sydney.
He did so on September 6 despite an Israeli military court convicting her husband, who the AAT identified only as Mr Khalil, of being a member of the Islamic terrorist group the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade and “conspiracy to cause intentional death”.
The court jailed him for 34 months.
Mr Khalil was accused of making and planting a bomb and attempting to recruit a suicide bomber. He admitted lying on his application to migrate to Australia by not declaring his convictions.
Among the reasons given by Mr Constance for overturning the ban on Mr Khalil entering Australia was “widely held concerns” about the fairness of the procedures in Israeli military courts.
■ BANGLADESHI Faisal Alam, who was ordered out of Australia after he posed as an official of the Australian Immigration Department to con fellow Bangladeshis out of more than $87,000 they paid into an account controlled by him in return for him supposedly helping them get visas.
Alam was jailed over the fraud after pleading guilty in the Victorian County Court to making a false Commonwealth document and falsely representing himself to be an Australian Commonwealth official.
AAT member Elizabeth Shanahan overturned the deportation order on August 9. One of her reasons for ruling his visa application should not be refused was that she was not convinced “the Australian community would not give him a second chance”.
That was despite saying in her written ruling: “Mr Alam’s offending is serious, his offences having been committed against vulnerable Bangladeshi nationals who had entrusted him with their money.”
■ VIETNAMESE immigrant Quang Quyet Bui being given his visa back by AAT senior member Egon Rice on August 23, despite Bui being jailed for 30 months after police discovered his suburban Melbourne home had been converted into seven separate hydroponic cannabis growing areas.
Nearly 200 plants weighing almost 80kg were seized.
■ MR DUTTON’S delegate ordering the deportation of convicted drug trafficker Hoang Nguyen back to Vietnam after Nguyen was convicted in Victoria of importing a commercial quantity of a precursor chemical to make the deadly drug ice.
He was jailed for three years after also pleading guilty to handling stolen goods. Nguyen appealed to the AAT and on September 13 AAT senior member Egon Fice overturned the decision not to grant Nguyen a partner visa.
One of Mr Fice’s reasons for granting Nguyen a temporary partner visa was that “I find that the Australian community would, in Mr Nguyen’s circumstances, grant him a second chance”.
■ AN AFGHANI who Mr Dutton’s delegate wanted to deny citizenship to after discovering he provided false documents when applying for Australian citizenship, and could not otherwise establish his real identity.
The man, identified by the AAT only as YMPL, arrived in Australia by boat without a visa, was given a protection visa and later applied for citizenship.
Perth AAT member Brigadier Anthony Warner overturned Minister Dutton’s delegate’s decision on September 12 and ruled the man was eligible to become an Australian citizen.
■ NEW Zealander Joseph Engi, who was ordered out of Australia in November 2016 because of his serious criminal record.
Engi’s record included threatening his wife while armed with a pair of scissors, theft, threatening to kill a man he assaulted, breach of bail conditions and possession of stolen goods.
Senior Sydney AAT member John McGrowdie overturned the deportation decision on September 12, despite saying in his written ruling that “there is some concern that upon release the applicant will return to his old ways, the awareness that the applicant now has, minimises this risk”.