Australian Minister for Immigration and Citizenship Brendan O’Connor today announced another group of Sri Lankan irregular maritime arrivals were flown home from Christmas Island to Colombo.
The Australian High Commission in Colombo said that a group of 20 people were advised of their status and they were subject to removal from Australia as none of them raised issues that engaged Australia’s international obligations.
Without a valid visa they had no legal right to remain in Australia, the Australian High Commission said.
Since August 13 last year, 963 Sri Lankans have returned home – 756 of them involuntarily.
“When people arrived to Australia unauthorised, any claims they make for their reasons to travel to Australia are assessed by the Department of Immigration. If these claims are not covered by the refugee convention, they will be returned to their home land wherever possible,” the Australian High Commission quoted O’Connor as saying.
“People who pay smugglers are risking their lives and throwing their money away.
“There is no visa on arrival, there is no speedy outcome, and there is no special treatment.
“We are committed to breaking the evil people smuggling trade, deterring people from taking dangerous journeys by boat and saving lives at sea.
“We will continue to transfer people to Nauru and Manus Island.”
People returned involuntarily do not have access to reintegration assistance. (Colombo Gazette)