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Outlaw bikies are among those being targeted under new visa cancellation laws. Photo: Getty Images
Dozens of criminals - including suspected Mafia figures, outlaw bikies and sex fiends - are set to be booted from Victoria under tough new visa cancellation laws.
It is understood that as many as 110 bikies, and well-known Mafia kingpins, could be deported because of suspicions they are involved in organised crime or because they are serving a Victorian prison sentence.
Under changes to the Migration Act that came into law in December, Immigration and Border Protection Minister Peter Dutton has the power to cancel the visas of suspected or convicted criminals.
It is believed a list made by Victoria Police after high-level discussions contains the names of dozens of criminals who could be deported under the new law, regardless of whether they have been charged with a criminal offence.
There have already been 47 visa cancellations in Victoria since December, including offenders who were deported for murder or manslaughter, drug offences and sexual offences.
Francesco Madafferi, a suspected Melbourne Mafia identity, is among those who are in prison and will be deported when their sentences are completed.
Madafferi was jailed for trafficking a commercial quantity of ecstasy, the largest haul intercepted in Australian history, and was sentenced to 10 years with a minimum of seven in December.
Madafferi, a 54-year-old father of four, had been living in Australia on a spousal visa.
Other mafia figures believed to be in the gun cannot be named, but include senior figures who have been convicted or suspected of murder, massive drug importations, and involvement with the Calabrian mafia.
It is believed that many of the bikies nominated as possible candidates for deportation are New Zealand citizens of Pacific Islander descent.
The Trans-Tasman travel arrangement allows New Zealand citizens a temporary visa to live and work indefinitely in Australia.
Several local bikie gang chapters, particularly the Comanchero's Williamstown chapter, have a strong membership base of Pacific Islanders, including office bearers.
If the Minister reasonably suspects a person is, or has been, a member or associate of a group that is involved in crime, regardless of whether that person has been convicted, they can be deported under the tougher character test.
A visa can be cancelled even if the person has an association with a person who is reasonably suspected of being a criminal, even if that person hasn't be convicted.
Anyone convicted of a crime and sentenced to at least 12 months prison, or sentenced to separate terms of imprisonment with a cumulative total of 12 months, or convicted of a child sex offence, will have their visa cancelled mandatorily.
While the laws remove the risk of a criminal reoffending after their release from prison, and give authorities the power to deport suspected criminals who have been able to avoid convictions, there are concerns that those targeted could become guilty by association.
The spectre of someone being deported, despite being convicted, also threatens the integrity of state justice systems, critics say.
Several submissions to a Senate committee that considered the bill, including a submission from the Australian Human Rights Commission, argued against the harsher measures.
A spokeswoman for Minister Dutton said all the visa cancellations that had occurred since December had been based on a criminal conviction and were mandatory.
There is yet to be a cancellation based solely on character grounds, however last month an application made by a high-profile Bandidos enforcer for a visa renewal - different to a cancellation - was refused.
English-born sergeant-at-arms Daniel Roach was stranded in Thailand when his application was refused based on character grounds by Minister Dutton.
It is understood that the department is working through the records of thousands of inmates in prisons across the country to determine which inmates are subject to mandatory cancellations.
Notice of a visa cancellation is occurring while a migrant remains in prison, as it means the appeal process can start while the person is incarcerated.
The spokeswoman would not comment on how much had been spent deporting the 352 people who have had their visas cancelled across Australia since December.
It is unclear how many of those people have actually left Australia, or remain in prison or detention.
"The Department works closely with a range of Government agencies to identify non-citizens who may be of character concern.
"In circumstances where people have been incarcerated and have exhausted all legal avenues of appeal, the Department will seek to remove them directly from prison to plane.
"In some cases however, due to logistical planning, people may be taken into an immigration detention facility while removal planning is finalised."
A Victoria Police spokeswoman said the force would not comment given visas are a federal matter.