The Turnbull Government has set a deadline for thousands of Illegal Maritime Arrivals (IMAs) who flooded into Australia under the previous Labor Government to prove they are genuine refugees and owed protection by Australia.
They must lodge applications for processing by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) by October 1.
There are 7500 IMAs who landed in Australia during the Labor years who have failed or refused to present their case for asylum. Some of these people have been here for more than five years. Yet they have failed or refused to take any action to present their case for protection.
Federal Member for Forde Bert van Manen said the October deadline was proof the federal government was committed to tackling the issue head on.
“The influx of illegal maritime arrivals in our nation is a genuine concern for many of my constituents in Forde,” Mr van Manen said.
“It will come as a relief for many that the Coalition is determined to clean up this illegal immigration mess, created in five chaotic years of Labor Government.”
Mr van Manen said many IMAs are residing in Australia on government funded support which last year cost the Australian taxpayer approximately $250 million in income support alone.
“The previous Labor Government ran scared from this issue,” Mr van Manen said.
“The Coalition Government will ease the ongoing burden on Australian taxpayers that Labor’s failed open-border policies has imposed for years to come.
“The October cut-off for lodgement of protection claims will ensure that Australian taxpayers are not providing financial support to people who have no right to be in Australia.”
The October 1 deadline is non-negotiable.
Any IMA who has not lodged an application to have their claim for asylum assessed by the DIBP by that date will be deemed to have forfeited any claim to protection.
They will be subject to removal from Australia, prohibited from applying for any Australian visa, cut from government income support and banned from re-entering Australia. They will be issued a short term visa while departure or removal is organised. It will provide minimal rights – to work, Medicare and education for children as required by Australia’s international obligations.
In such circumstances processing their claims for protection has proven challenging and complex. The Coalition has expedited this process as much as possible.
- 50,000 Illegal Maritime Arrivals landed in Australia under Labor between 2008 and 2013
- Labor processed 20,000 of these people
- It stopped processing IMAs in August 2012
- That left 30,500 people yet to be processed – this is known as the Legacy Caseload
- 23,000 of the Legacy Caseload have applied for TPVs or SHEVs
- Of those 6500 have been granted a TPV or SHEV
- 3000 have already been found not to be refugees and must leave Australia
- 13,000 are having their claims assessed
- Around 7500 remain outside the process and have not presented their case for protection
- It is this 7500 that are caught by the October deadline
- There are currently 17,500 IMAs who receive SRSS support
- In 2015-16 support for IMAs cost the Australian taxpayer just approximately $1.9 billion
- Since 2007-08 the total cost to Australians of Labor’s failed open-border policy failure is $13.7 billion