Australia sends back 50 Sri Lankans

The federal government has sent more Sri Lankan asylum seekers home, bringing the total number of Sri Lankans “involuntarily” returned to 282.

Immigration Minister Chris Bowen said the 50 men were advised of their status and that they were to be removed from Australia.

The men were returned to Sri Lanka from Christmas Island on Sunday.

The group was made up of recent arrivals from a number of different boats.

“They raised no issues that engaged Australia’s international obligations,” Mr Bowen said in a statement on Sunday, implying that they were not considered to be refugees.

Without a valid visa, the men had no legal right to remain in the country and had been removed at the earliest opportunity, he said.

“The government will continue to return people where they do not engage Australia’s international obligations,” Mr Bowen said.

The latest group takes to 282 the number of Sri Lankans returned involuntarily since the government announced in August it would process asylum seekers in offshore centres on Nauru and Papua New Guinea.

Since the announcement, more than 380 Sri Lankans have returned home – both voluntarily and involuntarily – “as people realise that these smugglers only sell lies and false promises about what awaits people in Australia”, Mr Bowen said. (AAP)