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Boat visa ban plan won't fall foul of TPP

AAP logoAAP 6/11/2016 Lisa Martin

Immigration department officials insist a proposal to ban boat-arriving asylum seekers from ever coming to Australia won't fall foul of the Trans-Pacific Partnership deal.

The federal government will introduce draft laws to parliament this week that aim to bar boat-travelling refugees from ever coming to Australia even as tourists if they become a citizens of another country.

During a parliamentary hearing about the controversial free trade pact on Monday, Labor quizzed immigration and trade officials on whether the proposal could breach freedom of people movement provisions in the deal.

Immigration department official David Wilden told the hearing Australia exercises control over its border.

"If you don't pass health and character (tests), not withstanding the provisions in the TTP or other free trade agreements, we have a right to refuse you entry," he said.

The department had not yet provided formal advice to the government about the trade deal in relation to the visa ban bill.

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade official Tim Stapleton said the deal's freedom of movement provisions related to skilled professionals and technicians such as intra-corporate transferees.

Meanwhile, trade officials are "cautiously optimistic" the US Congress will vote on the deal in the next month.

The fate of the deal is looking grim with both US presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton turning their backs on the 12 country agreement.

DFAT official Elizabeth Ward said Australia was supporting the Obama administration's last ditch push to have the deal passed during the "lame duck period" before the new president is inaugurated.

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