Giles finds 99 reasons to alter immigration direction

Immigration Minister Andrew Giles remains under fire over a contentious ministerial direction.

Immigration Minister Andrew Giles remains under fire over a contentious ministerial direction. Photo: AAP

An overhaul of a controversial immigration direction will be in place in a matter of days.

Immigration Minister Andrew Giles said an update to the contentious direction 99 would be in place by the end of the week, after an outcry over the appeals tribunal using it to reinstate visas of foreign nationals found guilty of serious crimes.

The direction, which prioritised a person’s ties to Australia, was imposed following concerns from New Zealand that people were being deported across the Tasman who had no connection with the country.

With the opposition calling for Giles to resign, the uproar over the guidance has distracted from the government’s post-budget legislative agenda.

Giles said the new direction would place a greater emphasis on community safety.

“It is clear that the Administrative Appeals Tribunal’s decision to reinstate these visas did not meet community expectations, and ministerial direction 99 has not been working as the government intended,” he said.

“The government is on track to overhaul this regime and put in place a new direction before the end of the week.”

It comes as Giles revealed he had cancelled the visas of 30 foreign nationals with criminal histories.

Giles also walked back comments suggesting drones were being used to monitor detainees who had been released from immigration detention.

“I relied on information provided by my department at the time, which has since been clarified,” he said.

“As part of the work monitoring and supporting community safety, Operation AEGIS draws on information from a range of sources using different technologies including aerial open-source and other imagery through their work with state and territory law enforcement bodies.”

The detainees were released after a High Court ruling that deemed indefinite immigration detention was unlawful.


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