20 April 2009

Temporary protection Australian visas should return: Opposition

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The Federal Opposition is calling for the return of the temporary protection Australian visas for people emigrating to Australia seeking asylum. Federal Opposition leader Malcolm Turnbull says the removal of temporary protection Australian visas has resulted in Australia being viewed as an easy target for people smugglers, reports ABC News.

The temporary protection Australian visas allowed some asylum seekers found to be emigrating to Australia through illegal means to stay in Australia.  The conditions of the Australian visas mean that holders cannot leave the country during the first four years of arrival, they do not have the rights of reunion with their families often left in their home country, and they also have to re-apply for a protection visa every three years.  

"The reintroduction of temporary protection visas should be high on the [Government] agenda," Turnbull told Radio National.

"Between 2002 and the end of 2008 there were around half as many people arriving as have arrived since August last year; the fact of the matter is since the TPVs were abolished by the Rudd Government there has been a dramatic increase."

Last week, a boat of people found to be illegally emigrating to Australia were being escorted to Christmas Island for questioning when their boat exploded, killing three people and injuring many more. 

The Immigration Minister Senator Chris Evans has said that there has been an increased movement in the South East Asian region that can be held responsible for the increased numbers of people attempting emigrating to Australia illegally, and that the Government's removal of the temporary protection Australian visas is not the cause.

"We've had some good success but we've also facing a heightened amount of activity and we will use every endeavour we can to break up the people smuggling rings. We'll work with our neighbours. I think there's been some new tactics used by people smugglers that we're responding to, new routes being utilised, all these things are challenges that we're responding to," he said in an interview on ABC1.

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

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