31 August 2011

High Court rejects Australian immigration swap deal

After months of planning, the Australian government's proposed plan to 'swap' asylum seekers with Malaysia has been rejected by the Australian High Court, with the news striking a blow against Prime Minister Julia Gillard's border protection policy.

Australian Immigration

The Australian government's asylum seeker swap deal with Malaysia has been rejected by the High Court.

The initial plan proposed by Australia immigration  was to send 800 asylum seekers to Malaysia in exchange for 4,000 refugees who had been approved through the proper channels and had their case settled.

However, the Australian High Court has now ruled that the process of sending asylum seekers to any country that was not "legally bound by international or domestic law to provide access for asylum seekers to effective procedures for assessing their need for protection".

Speaking on the situation, Sonia Caton of the Refugee Council of Australia commented "The Malaysia deal is as good as dead right now .... There's no lawful basis on which one asylum seeker can be sent to Malaysia."

Australian Immigration Minister, Chris Bowen, also acknowledged the impact of the ruling, saying "Today's high court ruling is profoundly disappointing."

However, he resolved to continue the fight against the people smuggling rings that exploited asylum seekers, stating "we've had the people smugglers in retreat. Now today's decision is a significant blow but it does not undermine my or the government's determination to break the people smugglers' model."

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

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