The Australian government announced that around 10,000 Hong Kong passport holders currently living in Australia will be allowed to apply for a permanent residence once their existing visas expire.
The new announcement been made in wake of the controversial security law.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s government believes that pro-democracy supporters may become the victim of political persecution due to the security law.
Acting Immigration Minister Alan Tudge reported to Australian Broadcasting Corp. television on Sunday that many Hong Kong passport holders may search for places to go to and hence we have put forward our additional visa options for them.
Tudge said that the applicants will have to pass “the character test, the national security test and the like,” if they want permanent residency.
He said, “So its not automatic. But its certainly an easier pathway to permanent residency and of course once you’re a permanent resident, there’s then a pathway to citizenship there,”
Morrison had announced last week that Australia suspended its extradition treaty with Hong Kong and extended visas for Hong Kong residents from two to five years.
Chief Executive Carrie Lam said on Tuesday that it was “actually relatively mild as far as national security laws are concerned” and would enable Hong Kongers to “exercise their rights and freedoms without being intimidated and attacked”.
The office has been temporarily established in a hotel in Causeway Bay, the commercial district next to Victoria Park.