The Prime Minister has revealed Australia has suspended its extradition agreement with Hong Kong due to their controversial new national security laws.
It’s understood the National Security Committee of Cabinet made the decision on Thursday, with Scott Morrison confirming Hong Kong and Chinese authorities have been formally notified of the move.
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The PM confirmed Australia’s travel advice for Hong Kong has also been updated and he “
In an update posted on the Smart Traveller website, the Government warned Australians not to travel to Hong Kong.
They say new legislation could see Aussies transferred to mainland China for prosecution.
“The new national security legislation for Hong Kong could be interpreted broadly. Under the law, you could be deported or face possible transfer to mainland China for prosecution under mainland law,” the advice reads.
“The full extent of the law and how it will be applied is not yet clear. You may be at increased risk of detention on vaguely defined national security grounds.
“You could break the law without intending to. If you’re concerned about the new law, reconsider your need to remain in Hong Kong.”
The Australian Government urged those already in the region to consider leaving.
“If you do travel, get professional security advice. Your travel insurance policy might be void. The Australian Government may not be able to help you.”
Another major development to come out of Canberra today is the announcement that temporary work and student visa holders currently in Australia will have their visas extended by five years.
“What we’ve agreed to do is we’ve agreed to adjust the policy settings to ensure that, for skilled and graduate visa holders, we will be extending visas by five years from today, with a pathway to permanent residency at the end of those five years,” Mr Morrison said.
“Now, that means if you’re a current or future student, you’ll be able to stay for a total of five years once you’ve graduated with a pathway to permanent residency at the end of that period. If you’re a temporary visa holder, your visa will be extended to an additional five years from today, in addition to the time you’ve already been in Australia with a pathway to permanent residency at the end of that period.
“And we will also provide a 5-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,” the Prime Minister continued.
There are currently about 10,000 Hong Kong citizens and residents in Australia on student visas or on temporary work visas.