17 November 2011

Afghan deported after refugee Australia visa rejection

Australia's new hardline approach to deportation of unsuccessful refugee visa applicants kicks off this week with the deportation of an asylum seeker back to Afghanistan.

Australia visa application

Australia's deportation agreement with Afghanistan for the return of rejected refugee visa applicants will be put into action this week.

An ethnic Hazara man is set to be deported from Australia to his native Afghanistan on Saturday following the rejection of his application for a humanitarian Australia visa

The move is the first under a new bilateral agreement between Australian immigration authorities and the Afghan Government in Kabul, which will see Afghanistan re-accept former citizens that have been rejected in their applications for a refugee visa to Australia.

The applicant, Ismail Mirza Jan, claims deportation would put his life at serious risk.

"I told immigration, 'if you send me, you can send my dead body to my country because either way I am dead," Jan told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC).

The decision to deport Jan has been criticised by refugee advocacy groups, who argue the policy is a breach of international legal obligations. 

"His (Jan's) deportation sets a dangerous precedent and we're hoping that Afghanistan won't accept him," said Ian Rintoul of the Refugee Action Coalition.

Australian Immigration Minister Chris Bowen said dismissed the criticism, claiming deportation is a legitimate immigration reponse.

"It’s a fundamental part of our immigration system that if people are found not to be genuine refugees, that they should be removed," Mr Bowen said in a ministerial statement.

Jan will be charged $2000 AUD for the cost of his flight and will be liable for a further $30,000 to cover the cost of accompanying immigration officials.

The Australian Visa Bureau is an independent migration consultancy specialising in helping people lodge applications with the Australian High Commission.

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