19 May 2011

Australia immigration looks to YouTube to help deter people smuggling

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In an effort to both raise awareness amongst potential asylum seekers of the dangers of people smuggling and illustrate the risks they face when they enter Australia illegally, the Australian government has launched a new multi-lingual YouTube channel.

Australian immigration

The Australian government has launched a new multi-lingual YouTube channel warning against people smuggling.

One of the short videos hosted on the YouTube channel show Australia immigration officers tracking and arresting a suspected member of a people smuggling gang.

The videos have been translated into eight languages, including Arabic, Tamil and Bahasa and it's a new attempt by the Australian government to illustrate the risks and dangers that asylum seekers face when they pay criminal gangs to help them reach Australia by boat.

Another video details an agreement reached earlier this month that will see 800 asylum seekers from Malysia returned to their native country after being detained in Australia.

This deal is intended as the first step to putting people smuggling criminals 'out of business', as there will no longer be any guarantees that their 'clients' will reach and be accepted by Australia. In exchange for accepting the 800 illegal asylum seekers, Australia will accept 4,000 refugees who have had their claims for protection approved.

A country that has expressed interest in a similar deal is Thailand, although Chris Bowen, the Australian Immigration Minister, says that formal talks have yet to begin, saying:“We'll be discussing a range of matters with them, including matters that can break the people smugglers' business model.  And, they've expressed an interest in doing the same and that's something very welcome, but we're doing that across the region.  I don't want to see anymore Christmas Island tragedies. That was a terrible time for the nation.”


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