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Seeking Asylum
<p>Ella Rubeli/The Global Mail</p>

Ella Rubeli/The Global Mail

Bridging Visas To Nowhere

Thousands of asylum seekers currently in limbo on bridging visas in Australia may be sent back into detention.

As many as 13,000 asylum seekers on bridging visas in Australia are to be put back into detention by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP), according to Global Mail sources.

Refugee advocates say this figure is likely to refer to asylum seekers who have received a negative initial decision to their request for protection by the Australian government.

Immigration minister Scott Morrison said “there have been no decisions taken as yet as to who might go back into detention”.

But in response to questions from The Global Mail at the weekly briefing on Operation Sovereign Borders on November 1, the minister added that the government was following through on its pre-election promise to “completely revise the assessment process and to re-task the way that the detention network operated”.

“Once we get into our new assessment phase for those who have received a negative decision at some point, that should be [the onshore detention network’s] predominant purpose,” Morrison said.

Operation Sovereign Borders

Paul Power, CEO of the Refugee Council of Australia, says, “What we do know is, the government plans to bring asylum seekers back into detention if they get a negative decision.

“It is unclear to us at this stage if it will be after an initial negative decision – or after a negative decision is confirmed on review.”

The Asylum Seeker Resource Centre’s Pamela Curr says: “It is likely that there are 13,000 people in the community who the department would term as being on a ‘negative pathway’ but who are in fact awaiting a final outcome or a court decision.”

Such a large number would account for about a third of what Morrison called “the legacy caseload ... of 33,000 people [in] community detention, bridging visas, held detention and formal detention.”

Power noted that, “If there were to be large numbers of negative decisions in a short period, the government would have difficulty housing these people in the detention system as it is currently is.”

For those asylum seekers yet to be assessed and who are already in the community, Morrison said there was “no suggestion that, until their assessment might commence, that they’d be brought back into detention.

“There’s no suggestion of that, but we’ll be making more announcements about those issues,” he said.

During the election campaign, the Coalition called for a new, fast-track assessment and removal process based on the United Kingdom’s system. The Coalition estimated that under the system, refugee protection claims could be assessed and resolved – and unsuccessful asylum seekers deported – within three months.

Unsuccessful asylum seekers would be sent to Christmas Island pending their deportation, the Coalition said, adding that “voluntary removal options will also be offered at Christmas Island”.

18 comments on this story
by Richard Martin

I am sory but these people are queue jumpers and should be sent home allowing those who have been approved to come to Australia by the UN to settle in Australia. I also think too many Muslims are coming to Australia.

November 2, 2013 @ 12:31pm
by Neil Champion

Oh dear. Sorrow is a contrite or unhappy state of mind, brought on by recognition of a personal error or concern for the plight of someone who is suffering.
What a shame that we have people in Australia who think queues in refugee camps actually exist and that Muslims should be excluded from Australia. We are talking about people first and last and in-between.
What a difference a few billion Australian dollars spent helping the UN and nations under pressure because of refugees to accommodate and process refugees would make: a whole lot more good than spending it punishing people for leaving torment for a better life, who then end up tormented in Australia's shameful "prisons-for-the-innocent".
Let us "receive" these people - they truly are people - in Reception Centres, work through their needs and assist them to a better life here or elsewhere.

November 2, 2013 @ 7:50pm
by Melba

@Richard Martin: same old BS rubbish... Your post is racist, ignorant, bigoted, and factually incorrect.

November 3, 2013 @ 1:34am

Round up and redetain- now we see why all that "illegals" , detainees-aka prisoners, transferees language is necessary. It is to dull the conscience of the population to aim for quiet complicity when the real brute force begins.
The war on refugees and asylum seekers is moving from the Shock and Awe phase to systematic cruelty.
'Enhanced Screening' has taken care of two groups by virtue of the done deals with the Sri Lankan and Vietnamese governments enabling Australia to deport their nationals in defiance of the International conventions.
However arranging similar deals with with the Iranian , Iraqi and Afghan governments has proved more difficult so a new approach is to be instituted. this involves a "Round' em up and redetain"action and then to punish those they have labelled "double negative" until they sign to return voluntarily.
"Double negative' is immigration parlance which means that the case has been refused at primary and review stages. it ignores the limited role of the Court and Ministerial intervention. Lawyers can only take the case to the Court if there are solid grounds for the Court. The Minister is threatening lawyers with have to pay full costs if they put up cases which have no merit so there are no dodgy cases going forward but still this stage is discounted. On top of this Ruddock reduced the Courts role to extremely narrow grounds- no new evidence allowed.

Many of the people in this group are Hazaras who had such a rum deal that the High Court said their cases had to be reconsidered. they have been waiting over a year for a Minister to put this in place. After more than three years in detention, to redetain them would be cruel in the extreme. They are working in some of the least desired workplaces in isolated country areas to support families they may never see again.
Who will stand by silently as this brutal, cruel process takes place?
This will be the Apartheid test for Australia the Steve Biko moment.

November 3, 2013 @ 8:29pm
by Alex

Richard, let's not bring religion into this. Queue jumpers or visa overstayers (opportunists) come in all colors and backgrounds.

Back to the issue, why are the majority of 'asylum' seekers from Iran? Certainly not a first world country, but not exactly war torn, either. Where are the Syrian or Iraqi refugees who are actually genuine??

November 3, 2013 @ 11:39pm
by pamela curr

Alex- there are Syrian and Iraqi refugees on Christmas Island, Nauru and Manus hidden from the public gaze. A few Syrian families have made it out of Damascus to Indonesia but not many because the airline routes have closed down for them. So far few Informal agents (aka people smugglers) have opened routes out.
There are many Iraqis in the system. Iranian numbers have jumped recently as frustration with the brutal regime there grows.
There are single young women coming by boat for the first time. Many are Somali Girls who have grown up in camps in Yemen. they carry UNHCR REFUGEE cards from Yemen and then Indonesia but came by boat because Australia does not accept them from Indonesia. Their lives in Yemen held rape, forced marriage, kidnapping and trafficking as future prospects. They have high hopes for a different future in Australia.
The reasons for boat arrivals are complex and multifaceted and not easily answered by narrow minded , comfortable westerners who have never known a moment's fear from their government. If minds and hearts were open, a less fearful, racist and bigoted Australia could exist and we would all be the better for it. Breeding hate and division is a sure way to destroy what we have in this lucky country of ours.

November 4, 2013 @ 10:17am
by Joel

Alex, when you say "back to the issue" do you mean back to the issue of the article or back to the issue you want to raise that has no relevance to the article at all?

But, you HAVE pointed out a truth that Iran is currently the most common home country for asylum seekers arriving to Australia on boats, but they are in no way close to being a majority (and the statistics don't include the high number of Sri Lankan asylum seekers that go through "enhanced screening" and returned before being able to make their refugee claims heard properly). But again, this point is entirely irrelevant to the discussion. While Iran is not war-torn, there are still many legitimate reasons for seeking asylum from Iran and a suggestion that they aren't genuine is a fallacy.

And there are thousands of Iraqi asylum seekers currently in held detention, community detention or on bridging visas ... and there has been a large increase in Syrian asylum seekers arriving here too. So what was your point again?

November 4, 2013 @ 10:51am
by Luke

I just want to know what security clearance the commenters on this board have to know that these people aren't genuinely fleeing oppression. I only have the Government figures to go off and they state that about 90 per cent of asylum seekers are genuine. Are you able to tell me how you know better, or is this classified?

November 4, 2013 @ 12:51pm
by Alex

"Iranian numbers have jumped recently as frustration with the brutal regime there grows."

That's total BS, Pamela. That non-sense might work with the general Australian public, but I'm Iranian and have quite good intel as to what is going on in the camps and the types of individuals that are coming in (at least as far as the Iranians and Afghani's). 90% of Iranians are queue jumpers and economic migrants. Many are MKO members who are potential terrorists or violent individuals (there's your remaining 10% who might actually be at risk because of their violent past). There are the June 2009 troublemakers, well versed in violence and anarchy. Many are charged with violent crimes upon release into the public, yet these details rarely make it into the leftist "asylum seeker" media. The Iranian government is glad to get rid of these people and offload them on to us. They scam there way onto disability pensions and whatever else they can con their gullible government paid psychologists into helping them get. It it people like you that are driving this great country into the ground. I know more than I want to (believe me) about these crooks and certainly won't divulge it all as to compromise my sources.

For the record: I came here legally with full documentation (in fact I came upon invitation) nearly 30 years ago. I believe I have made ample contributions and have a right to decide who comes here and who doesn't. I don't want the majority of economic queue jumpers here, full stop. I just hope Abbott grows a spine and stops these boats AT SEA and send them back to Indonesia. The majority of Australians such as MYSELF have spoken and we don't want them here.

November 4, 2013 @ 1:32pm
by Alex


"Alex, when you say "back to the issue"...."

Didn't bother reading Nicks' usual left wing non-sense so decided to bring up the point myself. As its hardly ever raised.

"While Iran is not war-torn, there are still many legitimate reasons for seeking asylum from Iran and a suggestion that they aren't genuine is a fallacy."

Lets's here some of them..

November 4, 2013 @ 1:47pm
by Brian

No disrespect but if they are illegal then they must be repatriated to their country of origin, no country should have to waste their own taxpayers money to keep illegal immigrants in their country. Send them all back to whence they came. You just need to look at the state of UK with all the influx of foreigners 9good & bad ) it will bring the country down

November 4, 2013 @ 3:47pm
by Alex


Another point I forgot to mention:
"And there are thousands of Iraqi asylum seekers currently in held detention, community"

You have no idea how many of these are actually IRANIANS fluent in Arabic and lived in Arabic regions of Southern Iran and no doubt travelled to Iraq on pilgrimages. So had perfectly rehearsed stories to tell the Australian dingbat authorities and gullible Australian public. You people have NO idea.

November 4, 2013 @ 9:09pm
by bilbo 3

Sadly it may well be necessary to remove those who have failed to demonstrate that their claim is genuine. It should be noted that this will not change the overall number of refugees that are settled in Australia. A failure to undertake these deportations will encourage others to try their luck with people smugglers at great risk to themselves and unreasonable expense to the Australian taxpayers, Until access to Australia as a refugee is restricted to those who have obtained an appropriate visa before arrival the system will remain an expensive lawyer ridden farce.

November 4, 2013 @ 10:20pm
by Kath

Sad times. Alex, whatever your 'sources' are telling you about the veracity of asylum seekers' claims, they are entitled to be heard.

Asylum seeker boat arrivals don't make up much of Australia's immigration numbers anyway.

People need to chill the f*ck out about this whole issue and stop letting politicians take them for an absolute ride. If you want to get angsty about something, try the Trans-Pacific Partnership. That will have a hell of a lot more impact on your life.

November 5, 2013 @ 11:02pm
by moral judgement

you can always tell the good guys from the bad guys in the comment section of these kinds of articles.

If your argument included calling asylum seekers "illegal immigrants" you are evil for one of two reasons.

1. you know that its not illegal under UN convention to seek asylum despite method or having identification. And so you are using the term purposefully to spread your racist and bigoted ideologies and instill fear,

2. You are sad and ignorant to your inaccurate facts, in this case you should a) be quiet and let informed people talk, or b) actually read up before presenting your opinion. You do neither so you are also evil, because you are perpetuating ideas that are false perpetuating racism and instill fear.

November 6, 2013 @ 5:46am
Show previous 15 comments
by bilbo 3

Many taxpayers favour refugee intake but do not support self selection for that intake via people smuggler and lawyer. A move to change whatever laws that are necessary to make it impossible to receive asylum in Australia unless a visa is obtained before arrival would receive a high level of public support. Australian taxpayers want their funds to be used in a cost efficient manner that does not encourage more desperate people to attempt to rort their way in.

November 6, 2013 @ 1:51pm
by Simon N

Why the continued denial of evidence based reportage amongst the right wing in this country? It's begining to feel like the Dark Ages. Will they start to put reasonable people to the torch next, in their quest to assert their 'God given right' to rule?

The assertion that Olle's reporting is 'left wing' is laughably incorrect & ignorant in the extreme. Olle's continued high quality reporting of what is occurring at a parliamentary level & the results of decisions being made on our behalf on others is to be lauded. Any fair & reasonable assessment of the quality of reporting by Olle & his GM colleagues would, I am certain, pass the most stringent tests of fair, critical &, most importantly, skeptical journalism. If you only want to hear trite entertainment that reinforces your racist, xenophobic & pathetically narrow world view, your options are numerous. May I suggest Who Weekly, Fox News & any of the commercial radio nut jobs to you? There are those of us who prefer that our journalism be delivered by intelligent & capable people capable of understanding the nuances & particularities of each story outside of any particular ideology.

November 8, 2013 @ 8:14am

Where is the Australian Fair Go ethos? I am in contact with a dozen young people who came to our shore legally seeking asylum, most escap;ing persecution, all of them living now in community.Theysurvived over 2 years in our government's crushing detention centers. Now their excitemenet to have an "almost normal life" in Australiad is palpable. They are young and healthy, eager to learn and praying for the opportunity to work. These are the kind of potential citizens we should welcome with open arms. It is simply horrific to think the new "Assessment process" may lead to their deportation. How inhumane can our immigrationj policy be!!! It even exceedes the current,shameful USA deportation practice. David F

November 14, 2013 @ 4:10am
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