Scott Morrison: Australia Halts Hong Kong Extradition Agreement and Extends Visas.

Australia has formally suspended its extradition agreement with Hong Kong and the Chinese authorities.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said new national security laws brought in by China represented a “fundamental change of circumstances” for many governments around the world.

“The other issue that we are addressing is one that, as a result of changes that have occurred in Hong Kong, that there will be citizens of Hong Kong who may be looking to move elsewhere,” Mr Morrison said.

“To take their skills, their businesses and things that they have been running under the previous set of rules and arrangements in Hong Kong, and seek that opportunity elsewhere.”

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From today, temporary visa holders from Hong Kong in Australia will be granted an additional five years on their visas, with a pathway to permanent residency at the end of those five years.
“We will also provide a five-year visa with a pathway to permanent residency for future Hong Kong applicants for temporary skilled visas, subject to meeting an updated skills list and appropriate marking testing,” Mr Morrison said.

“We will also put arrangements in place to ensure we focus on Hong Kong applicants to study and work in regional areas, to help address skills shortages in those areas, with express pathways to permanent residency, as already applies after three years.”

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There are approximately 10,000 citizens of Hong Kong in Australia.

Acting Immigration Minister Alan Tudge said current and future students from Hong Kong will be eligible for a five-year temporary graduate visa once they complete their studies.

Former students already on a graduate visa will also receive five years from now. Hong Kong residents who fit the Australia skills shortage criteria will also be able to access a five-year temporary skilled visa.

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New security laws in Hong Kong undermine ‘basic law’

Mr Morrison has shared a strong view of new legislation in Hong Kong that could see citizens deported to China for prosecution.

“That is a matter of public record from Australia’s point of view.”

“In our view – and this is not just our view, it’s a shared view of many countries – that it undermines the One Country, Two Systems framework, and Hong Kong’s own basic law and the high degree of autonomy guaranteed in the Sino-British Joint Declaration that was set out there,” Mr Morrison said.

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