Australian Immigration may extend its refugee swap deal with Malaysia.
25 July 2011
Australian immigration swap deal could be extended
The Australian government has announced that it may extend its asylum-seeker 'swap deal' with Malaysia to continue for a longer period of time, or possibly even to other countries.
The current agreement is that, in exchange for Australia resettling 4,000 genuine refugees over the next four years, Malaysia will take 800 people who illegally arrived in Australia via boat.
Chris Bowen, the Australian Immigration Minister, stated that this agreement could form the basis for future policies:
"(Malaysia) regards this as a pilot project and if it works and is successful then they will examine potential extensions," he told ABC Television.
"We would be happy to have discussions and arrangements with other countries in our region under the regional framework at an appropriate time."
At the moment, Australia is funding the full cost of the deal, with $292 million allocated over the four years. However, Bowen was confident that the deal would have an impact on boat arrivals, stating that asylum seekers will "think twice and three times before hopping on one of those boats".
"It's a tough message, but it's an appropriate message," said Bowen when speaking to Sky News.
The Australian Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in helping people lodge their Australia visa application with the Australian Embassy London.