27 May 2009

Tamil Sri Lankans won't get extra privileges for emigrating to Australia

The Australian government will not give priorities for emigrating to Australia to Tamil Sri Lankans or other Sri Lankans displaced in the north of Sri Lanka, according to a statement released by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC).

Media reports suggested that more Tamil Sri Lankans would be emigrating to Australia through the humanitarian program because of special arrangements; however, the Australian government has denied these allegations, saying that no religious or ethnic groups get priority for emigrating to Australia over any other group.

"The target of Australia’s humanitarian program is those applicants who are outside their home country and who are subject to persecution or substantial discrimination in their home country. Links to Australia are also an important consideration for many applicants.

"The immediate humanitarian priority for the international community, including Australia, is to support the population in north-east Sri Lanka displaced by the conflict by helping to provide food and shelter and other assistance to stabilise living conditions."

Australian visa application lodgements for the humanitarian program for Sri Lankans can be made in Colombo, although the government has warned that most people who apply will be disappointed with the outcome.

The government will also be providing improved services for providing relief to internally displaced people in Sri Lanka, which will be funded with $1.5 million. 

Statistics from DIAC also show that the majority of people emigrating to Australia have done so through the Australian skilled migration program or the Australian family migration program.

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

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