03 December 2008

Report: govt should detain illegal immigrants for max 12 months

A parliamentary committee has urged to Rudd Government to reform immigration detention policy so that no one is detained for longer than 12 months, reports ABC News.

The Joint Standing Committee on Migration recommended 18 improvements to the government in its report Immigration Detention in Australia: A New Beginning.

Earlier in the year, Senator Evans changed mandatory detention policy so that the Immigration Department would detain only those illegal immigrants deemed to be a threat to Australian society or breached the conditions of their Australian visa

The report recommends, amongst other things, that the government makes clear what criteria makes a person a risk to the Australian community, and that a person detained for 12 months have access to a judicial review and those being held be no longer charged for their detention.

According to government figures, almost 280 people are currently in detention. 

In related news, a group of seven campers on the coast of Western Australia discovered a boat carrying 12 suspected Sri Lankan asylum seekers, reports The Australian.

Two of the men onboard the boat swam ashore to seek help from the campers, who subsequently called the police – who called the Australian Customs - to inform them of their suspicions. 

Senator Evans has not yet confirmed if the boat passengers are in fact asylum seekers, but the 12 men will be transferred to Christmas Island for processing.  Senator Evans confirmed his government would grant any passengers who make requests for asylum with onshore protection and access to review procedures.

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

Article by Jessica Bird, Australian Visa Bureau.

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