05 May 2009

People found illegally emigrating to Australia for second time

The Australian authorities have stopped some people emigrating to Australia illegally for the second time, reports The Australian.

At least 12 people on the latest wave of boatpeople have found to be illegally emigrating to Australia after having been granted temporary protection visas or after being rejected from the country once before, and the number is expected to climb once the most recent 231 asylum seekers have been processed by Australian authorities.

This means that not only are people illegally emigrating to Australia once, some are even successfully reaching Australia's shores on more than one occasion.

The news comes at a time when the incumbent Rudd Government has been accused of having an Australian immigration policy that is too soft and encourages people smuggling into Australia.  While the hard-lined Howard approach to detain illegal entrants to Australia has been canned, its replacement (which allows overstayers to remain in the community until they have sorted their return home) has come under fire from the Opposition. 

The abolition of temporary protection visas has also been held responsible for the increase of people illegally emigrating to Australia.  Temporary protection visas are a special type of Australian visa for asylum seekers.  They allow that person to remain in Australian for three years, and the holder is not allowed to leave the country during this time.  The purpose of this Australian visa is to essentially get the holder to do "time" in Australia to prove their need for protection.

Refugee Council president John Gibson said many holders of this type of visa breached the conditions and left Australia because of concern for families they have left behind in their war-torn countries.

"One of the causal functions in the increase in the number of people aboard the boats was the fact that TPVs didn't allow family reunions," Mr Gibson told The Australian.

He also attributed the twice-offending asylum seekers to prevailing conditions in their hometown, whereby political situations may have calmed or flared up.

Opposition spokeswoman Sharman Stone said those found to be emigrating to Australia illegally on more than one occasion need to be closely monitored to understand the conditions causing them to do so.

"If they haven't experienced extreme trauma in the intervening years since their first rejection, then the Coalition will demand to know how the criteria for refugee selection has changed," Dr Stone told The Australian.

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

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