Visa cancellations climb to 47,000 by April 30

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The Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) has cancelled over 2,598 visas on character grounds, and 995 visa applications were refused for failing to meet the character requirements under section 501 of the Migration Act 1958.

The Department of Immigration and Border Protection has of April 30, cancelled more than 47,000 visas for "a variety of reasons."

Secretary of the Department, Michael Pezzullo told a Senates Estimates Hearing "that 13,150 unlawful non-citizens had been located in Australia during this time, of which 1778 were working illegally."

More than 20,000 visas have been cancelled during the first four months of this year.

The number of visas cancelled up to December 31, 2016 was over  27,000.

DIBP Secretary Michael Pezzullo during a Senate Estimates hearing.

Mr Pezzullo told the hearing that the department had served 328 notices to employers for employing unlawful non-citizens, or overseas workers in breach of their visa conditions.

"We are engaged in regular operations around the country, targeting individuals who have overstayed their visa and companies who are either employing non-citizens who do not have work rights, or those engaged in worker exploitation across a wide range of industries," he said.

The department cancelled over 60,000 visas during the last financial year.

The DIBP has also cancelled nearly 600 visas from January to April this year on the basis of character requirements.

Since legislative changes in December 2014, the total number of visas cancelled under the character provisions of the new law number 2598.

Non-citizens from New Zealand, United Kingdom and Vietnam comprise the top three nationalities to have their visas cancelled on character grounds.   

"The department continues to work with law enforcement and other agencies to identify and, where appropriate, cancel visas for non-citizens engaging in gang violence or other criminal activity," said Mr Pezzullo.

Under section 501 of the Migration Act 1958, the immigration minister can refuse to grant or cancel the visa of a person on the grounds of not meeting character requirements.  

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