Australia cautions illegal immigrants

‘Zero Chance’ to enter country

June 26, 2019 09:13 am | Updated 09:14 am IST - CHENNAI

Creating awareness:  Tara Cavanagh, Minister Counsellor Home Affairs, second from left, addressing the media   in Chennai on Tuesday.

Creating awareness: Tara Cavanagh, Minister Counsellor Home Affairs, second from left, addressing the media in Chennai on Tuesday.

The Australian government is launching a campaign ‘Zero Chance’ to raise awareness among people trying to enter the country illegally by boats.

“The message of Zero Chance is simple. Anyone who tries to come illegally to Australia by boat has zero chance of success,” Tara Cavanagh, Minister Counsellor Home Affairs, told reporters here on Tuesday. “You will be turned back from Australia if you attempt to come illegally by boat,” she added.

Broader campaign

People in Tamil Nadu will soon start to see advertising and other communication materials as part of the Zero Chance campaign, Ms. Cavanagh said. This is part of a broader campaign that will be rolled out in about 10 countries in the region.

“Australia’s strong border policies remain the same. These have not changed since the election,” she said.

Ms. Cavanagh said people smugglers tend to lie about international immigration policies and might try to cheat them by telling them that the country’s policies have changed following the recent elections.

Australia has so far turned back 847 people on 35 vessels trying to enter Australia illegally, as part of the Operation Sovereign Borders that has been implemented since 2013, she said. However, she refused to quantify the number of people trying from India or Sri Lanka to get into Australia by boat illegally.

Resettlement plan

To a query on refugees trying to enter Australia, she said those who wish to enter the country must apply through refugees resettlement programmes, and Australia works with the UNHCR to identify those people.

The campaign will be undertaken through NGOs that have some partnerships with Australia to educate people on not taking up these illegal and dangerous boat journeys, said Michael Costa, Deputy Consul General for South India.

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