27 October 2008

Minister denies his new immigration policy would encourage people smugglers

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The Minister for Immigration and Citizenship Senator Chris Evans has this week denied claims his new immigration policy is encouraging the people smuggling trade to Australia, reports ABC Radio Australia.

Senator Evans told a parliamentary committee that accusations his changes to the detention policy for people smugglers would encourage illegal immigrants to target Australia are unfounded. 

The Opposition questioned the Minister about plans to remove temporary protection visas from Australian immigration policy and his decision to remove mandatory detention for asylum seekers from South East Asia.

The Opposition claimed the relaxation of detention laws for asylum seekers would cause more people to attempt to enter the country without a visa for Australia; yet Senator Evans denies laws have been relaxed.  He says the Government has only changed the way in which asylum seekers are now treated, and has maintained the strict border security. 

"I think it's an adoption of a new direction in detention policy one that you maintain strong border security messages," Senator Evans said.

"You are actively engaged in trying to prevent people smuggling but that you treat people humanely that have arrived in this country and I think that's a proper balance for a democracy like Australia's."

The Australian Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in helping people with their Australian visa application.

Article by Jessica Bird, Australian Visa Bureau.

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