Golden visas threaten 'character of nation'
''GOLDEN'' visas by which wealthy investors can gain privileged access to Australian residency could damage the character of the nation, according to Melbourne Anglican Bishop Philip Huggins.
He contrasted efforts by the federal government to contain refugee numbers with the open-door policy for those who had $5 million to spend in Australia under the Significant Investor Visa program.
''What tests are made on how applicants have made their money?'' he asked. ''Have Fair Trade principles or the conventions of the International Labour Organisation been honoured? What character references are required in their application?''
Bishop Huggins said refugees who settled in Australia invariably spoke with gratitude for their opportunity to find a new home after fleeing violence and trauma.
''Such people, grateful for a fair go and hard-working, now strengthen the character of our nation, without question,'' he said. Bishop Huggins asked whether golden visa applicants would come with the same gratitude or with a sense of entitlement.
Fairfax Media reported on Friday that wealthy Asians were lining up for the new visa, which waives the usual criteria for skilled migrants, such as the ability to speak English, in exchange for a $5 million investment in Australia.