Visa cancellation changes risk refugee harm, separation

Refugees could face "unimaginable" harm and persecution while families risk being separated forever under a change to the way visa cancellations are considered, a refugee rights group warns.

Immigration Minister Andrew Giles has been under intense pressure since the Administrative Appeals Tribunal overturned several visa cancellations involving foreign nationals found guilty of serious crimes under direction 99.

The direction, which prioritised a foreign national's ties with Australia when making visa decisions, has been revoked with a new measure - direction 110 - to come into effect from June 21.

Direction 110 will give greater weight to community safety when appeals tribunals decide on visa cancellations.

But the Australian Asylum Seeker Resource Centre has slammed the government's "rushed and senseless" decision.

The group said the "knee-jerk" reaction to the opposition's barrage over the past month will increase the risk of refugees being sent back to persecution and potential harm and lead to permanent family separation from communities where they have spent decades of their lives.

The centre's principal solicitor, Hannah Dickinson, labelled the Albanese government's response "reactive, ill-considered and deeply damaging".

"Decisions under these directions will expose people and their families to unimaginable harm. It is appropriate and necessary that their circumstances be taken into account, and that due care is exercised in law-making," she said.

A national coalition of 40 legal, civil and human rights groups on Friday warned visa cancellations had life-changing consequences.

"It can lead to the permanent separation of families and the return of people to harm including torture or death in a country with which they have no connection," it said.

There were still 10 cases to be considered by the tribunal under direction 99 and Mr Giles confirmed he will monitor the cases and consider cancelling visas if they were reinstated.

Opposition leader Peter Dutton criticised the waiting time for the direction to come into effect, saying the measure would not solve concerns over direction 99.