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  • 13 Community and Environment
  • Immigration and Citizenship
  • Introduction to Immigration
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Introduction to Immigration

Immigration is a huge area of law. The purpose of the Immigration Department (Department of Home Affairs) is not to prevent all people from immigrating to or visiting Australia, it is intended to regulate the movement of people in and out of Australia. Regulation of migration is an important part of the nation state system.

The Department of Home Affairs regulates immigration because it is important to manage Australian resources, to know the population demographics for management of resources, to prevent the spread of contagious diseases, such as tuberculosis, and to ensure that people entering Australia can be identified.

Immigration law in Australia is the responsibility of the Commonwealth government. Immigration law is created by federal, not state, legislation. This means that immigration law is the same across Australia – from Tasmania to the Northern Territory the same laws apply.

This section deals with procedural issues and problems migrants may have with the immigration law system. It also addresses some queries Australian citizens heading abroad may have before departing Australia.

In Australia, immigration is regulated by the Migration Act 1958 (Cth) and the Migration Regulations 1994 (Cth). The Act provides the framework of laws, and the  Regulations provide the procedures around all aspects of migration, including visa applications, entry, stay, removal and exclusion of non-citizens.

The government department in charge of migration is the Department of Home Affairs. The name of the department has changed several times in the last twenty years, and will continue to change as each government attempts to put their stamp on the meaning of Australia’s attitude toward immigration. Every government has a different emphasis, or policy outlook.

Reference to the Department of Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs (DIMIA) and the Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs (DIMA) are out of date, as is Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) and Department of Inmigration and Border Protection (DIBP), but in the context of immigration, reference to any of these refer to powers now exercised by the Department of Home Affairs.

Travel and visa requirements for ALL travellers, who are entering Australia, are available at the Home Affairs website.

Page last updated 24/09/2019

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