- Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced Australia will suspend its extradition treaty with Hong Kong over new security laws imposed by Beijing
- He described the security laws as undermining the one-country, two-systems framework and degree of autonomy set out in the Sino-British joint declaration
- Thousands of Hongkongers will also have their Australian visas extended by five years with a pathway to permanent residency
- Additionally, the travel advice for Australians in Hong Kong has been updated, warning of an increased risk of detention on vaguely defined grounds
Australia has suspended its extradition treaty with Hong Kong and extended the visas of Hongkongers in response to new security laws.
Prime Minister Scott Morrisson said these measures are in response to the “fundamental change in circumstances” brought about by the news laws in the territory which was handed back to China from Britain in 1997.
“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,” he said speaking at a press conference.
The laws imposed June 30, 2020, make it illegal to incite hatred against either the central Chinese government of the regional Hong Kong government. They also allow for closed-door-trials, extradition to the mainland and require internet providers to hand over data if the police make a request.
Extradition treaty and travel advice
The Prime Minister said, that in response, Australia has notified Hong Kong and Chinese Authorities of the suspension of the extradition treaty.
Additionally, new travel advice for Australians in Hong Kong was issued today, warning of an increased risk of detention on vaguely defined grounds.
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 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.
Hongkongers who are skilled and graduate visa holders in Australia will have their visas extended by five years with a subsequent pathway to permanent residency.
“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,” the Prime Minister explained.
“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.”
“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 market testing.”
The Prime Minister also noted that the changes will also be made in a way that will target skills shortages and support regional Australia.
“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.”
“And we will also look at new incentives and arrangements to attract export-orientated Hong Kong-based businesses to relocate to Australia, particularly where they have a strong potential for future growth and employment of Australians.”