05/02/2016 12:45 PM AEDT | Updated 15/07/2016 12:51 PM AEST

Refugee Advocates Slam Tougher Migration Proposals


Refugee advocates have slammed a leaked cabinet document proposing tougher migration policies and closer monitoring of refugees.

The sensitive draft document cites the recent attacks in Paris and unrest in Germany and outlines a reform package "to simplify Australia's visa framework and create stronger controls over access to permanent residence and citizenship," the ABC reports.

The proposal changes outlines plans to remove direct access to permanent residence, overhauling the citizenship test and pledge as well as plans to increase monitoring of migrants, even after they're granted citizenship.

The document also raises concerns about the 12,000 additional Syrian refugees the Federal Government announced it would take in last year.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has said he had not seen the proposal.

A spokesman for Immigration minister Peter Dutton said Government Departments produce draft documents for consideration all the time.

"This is a draft document which has not been seen by the Minister or his staff -- nothing more," the spokeswoman told The Huffington Post Australia.

Greens Senator Sarah Hanson young called on Turnbull to rule out the proposals.

"He should rule it out," she said.

"He should rule out that the Government is considering any type of policy that sets up two class of citizenship in this country , that would target refugees in such a negative and underhanded way, and he should say that his Government won't have a part of it."

Refugee advocates are angered over the proposal.

ALHR is deeply concerned that such proposals will not comply with Australia's international human rights obligations. "...

Posted by Australian Lawyers for Human Rights on Thursday, 4 February 2016

Refugee Council of Australia CEO Paul Power told HuffPost Australia he suspected the document was leaked in an attempt to unwind the proposal and defeat it before it gets up.

He said the proposal showed a stream of thinking which sees anyone born outside of the country as a potential threat.

"It's a very self defeating policy," he said.

"I would be very disappointed it did (advance). What we're seeing is politically there isn't universal support for these hardline ideas.

"The success of Australia as a migrant nation has been built around an approach which tries to emphasise welcome to new arrivals, encourages people to feel a part of the nation."

Refugee Action Coalition spokesman Ian Rintoul told HuffPost Australia it was a continuation a mindset to link refugees or now humanitarian arrivals to some kind of threat to domestic terrorism,"

He said he had hoped for a change of tone when the Prime Ministership shifted to Malcolm Turnbull.

"Unless its repudiated it's clear that the kind of islamophobia, the fear mongering that was a hallmark of the Abbott government will be a blight on the Turnbull government," Rintoul said.

"This document puts to lie the idea that there was a substantial change, that there ever was."

The document also raised concerns about the 12,000 additional Syrian refugees announced as part of its increased humanitarian intake.

"It is expected some refugees from this conflict will bring issues, beliefs or associations that lead them to advocate or engage in politically motivated or communal violence," it said.

The ABC reports the Department of Immigration will "apply additional screening criteria to the 12,000 Syrian intake and extend this, where possible on a risk basis, to the humanitarian program".