Peter Dutton's intervention to save two au pairs from deportation could have been legal, but is "unprecedented" and "a terrible violation of standards," according to a migration agent.
Julie Williams, a registered migration agent at Migration Downunder, told SBS News on Friday that the "extremely fast" timeline and lack of documentation shocked "many in the industry."
The Minister of Internal Affairs released French au pair Alexandra Deuwel from immigration detention in 2015 after being pressured by AFL chief Gil McLachlan.
The same year, he granted a visa to Italian au pair Michela Marchisio, who faced deportation for allegedly planning to work for a former colleague of the Queensland police.
Mr. Dutton used his ministerial powers to prevent the Border Force from deporting young women suspected of planning to work in Australia despite having tourist visas.
What did Peter Dutton say?
In a statement to SBS News, Dutton said he made "decisions on the merit of individual cases in accordance with the law."
Ms. Williams said that although the moves were legal, they were very unusual.
"I have not seen anything like this and I've been practicing for about 20 years, it's unprecedented," he said.
She said that Mr. Dutton's ministerial intervention occurred "extremely quickly," which in Mrs. Marchisio's case was several hours after she was notified.
"Usually, the ministerial intervention takes months, we have cases that have taken 12 months, in one case, three years passed until the minister examined it."
Ms. Williams questioned how all the appropriate processes, such as obtaining medical and police checks, were followed in such a short period of time.
"It's usually a fairly long process, it takes a long time to gather everything and present a good case to the minister."
Others in a lot more need & # 39;
Ms. Williams said that people need to "present compassionate and compelling circumstances about why their case should be overturned."
"[Currently] there are extreme humanitarian cases rejected by the minister that have greater compassionate needs, such as the rejection of visitor visas for relatives abroad who wish to visit their dying relatives or separated partners. "
"Everything is very unusual and it is completely surprising, other colleagues in the industry are up in arms and can not believe it, when they have pending files of current clients … with people who need much more to have some form of ministerial intervention. "
She summarized the minister's actions as "a terrible violation of standards."
& # 39; The best interests of the country & # 39;
But Mr. Dutton has constantly defended his decisions.
"I make a decision that I think is best for our country, I do it every day with visas," Mr. Dutton told the 2GB radio on Friday.
"That's the whole reason for the ministerial intervention, because he thinks the department has made a decision that is not right."
In the case of Ms. Deuwel, Mr. Dutton said that she acted because she thought it was "a little hard" for a young woman without a criminal record to be expelled from the country.
But Mr. Dutton did it despite being told that Ms. Deuwel had been previously advised in May 2015 after violating the visa conditions on a previous visit.
Defense Minister Christopher Pyne described the concerns about the interventions as a "classic storm in a teacup".
"I really do not think there's anything to see here," he told Nine on Friday.
Without special treatment
The head of the AFL, Gil McLachlan, does not believe that he has received special treatment after pressuring Peter Dutton to annul the deportation of a French au pair.
McLachlan insists that his only role in the 2015 incident was to send an email from his cousin to the immigration minister's office.
"All I was really doing was trying to help facilitate the contact, not making a performance," he told 3AW radio on Friday.
"I feel it was reasonable to have done it, others can do their evaluations."
Mr. McLachlan denies having received special treatment because of his public profile.
"That's a question for someone else, but I do not think so," he told 3AW.
"I think this has been treated on its own merits, as the minister said."
Additional reports: AAP