01 June 2009

Family illegally emigrating to Australia plea with PM

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A refugee family emigrating to Indonesia has sent a letter of plea to the Prime Minister Kevin Rudd in an attempt to have their Australian visa application accepted.

Iraqi asylum seeker Yaser Mandalavi was caught emigrating to Australia with his family using illegal means and has been detained mid-way in an Indonesian detention centre.  After first emigrating to Australia in 2002 as a refugee by himself, he was granted an Australian visa that allowed him to live and work in the country, but he was not allowed to leave for four years.

After spending a year working as a panel beater in Australia, Mr Mandalavi returned to Iraq to help his family join him in Australia, and has spent the past two years slowly, but illegally, emigrating to Australia.

His plea to Rudd was sent from the Indonesian detention centre, and played on the incumbent's government's decision to make Australian immigration policy more humane than it was under the previous Howard Government.

According to the Herald Sun, Mr Mandalavi was convinced by a people smuggler who said that the Rudd Government had made its Australian immigration policy more open to refugees emigrating to Australia.

"He told me the laws had been changed in Australia, and that Mr Rudd wanted refugees," Mr Mandalavi said.

The Australian and Indonesian governments have spent many months in consultations so that they can combat the increasing incidences of people illegally emigrating to Australia, including information sharing and increasing the penalties for those found to be involved in the rackets in Indonesia.

An expert in Indonesia also said the internet is now partly responsible for a surge in human trafficking to Australia.

"What the people smugglers are buoyed by is that when boats get through to Australia, it becomes a marketing tool for them -- they watch it on the internet," an Indonesian expert said.

"Once a boat gets through, it gives them credibility with the people they are recruiting."

The Australian Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in helping people with emigrating to Australia.

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