Asylum seekers travelling by boats to Australia will be transferred to Nauru, an island country, for processing their claims and there was no guarantee that they would ever enter Australia.
Explaining the new policy aimed at discouraging refugees travelling by boats to Australia, Consul-General for South India David Holly said there was an increase in the number of people, including Sri Lankans travelling from south India, attempting to come to Australia by boat in the hope of getting asylum.
“We want to stop people coming to Australia by boat…following the recommendation of an eminent panel, we have decided to send a clear signal to asylum seekers coming by boat that there would be no guarantee of their entering Australia. We are concerned about the threat to human life. It is exceptionally dangerous to travel to Australia by boat,” he said.
Mr. Holly said refugees transferred to Nauru would be accommodated in tents with no job opportunity or income. The new policy was supported by the Government and the Opposition in Australia. “We are being supported here in India by the State police forces of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Kerala who are working closely to disrupt the activities of people- smugglers...this is part of a concerted effort across the Indian Ocean to try and break the people-smuggling networks,” he said.
Jose Alvarez, Minister-Counsellor (Immigration) and Regional Director (South Asia) said 10,278 people had arrived Australia by boats in 2012 of which 3,536 were Sri Lankan nationals.