September 29, 2012
Another group of Sri Lankan asylum seekers has asked to be sent home, rather than risk Australia sending them to an offshore processing facility.
Immigration Minister Chris Bowen says the group consists of 28 men who arrived both before and after the new processing arrangements for Nauru and Manus Island were announced in August.
He says the men have come from detention centres on Nauru, Christmas Island, as well as mainland facilities including Villawood and Northam.
The men are on a flight to Colombo that departed Christmas Island this morning.
Earlier this month another group of Sri Lankan asylum seekers opted to head home rather than be sent to Nauru.
The national president of the Migration Institute of Australia, Angela Chan, says asylum seekers are starting to get the message.
“It appears that the measures that they’ve introduced recently are having an effect,” she said.
“Obviously it’ll be proven by the test of time. They are very tough measures and it certainly is a disincentive for many people.”
Meanwhile, the Department of Immigration has confirmed that 52 boats and nearly 3,200 passengers have been intercepted since the new processing arrangements came into force.
It has also confirmed more than 300 asylum seekers were intercepted from three boats in Australian waters yesterday.
A total of 150 asylum seekers have now been taken to Nauru under the new policy.