Australia to treat all immigration asylum claims in same way

Australia to treat all immigration asylum claims in same way

Australia to treat all immigration asylum claims in same way

As reported by The Australian, all asylum-seekers who arrive in Australia via boat starting from Saturday will have their papers treated similarly as those arriving via plane.

Chris Bowen, Australian Immigration Minister, said that starting on Saturday, Labour would enact a single system for treating visa applications. This will enable boat immigrants to file applications for asylum visas reviewed via the Refugee Review Tribunal in place of the earlier Independent Merits Review system.

Mr Bowen announced the High Court's verdict to overturn the Malaysia Solution and the consequent deadlock in parliament over offshore visa processing, meant there were no longer any benefits in having separate processing arrangements for immigrant asylum-seekers who arrived by boat.

Scott Morrison, opposition immigration spokesman, said Labour had removed every last “brick” in the border protection system inherited from John Howard. The consequences have been chaos along the borders, higher costs to taxpayers, riots in detention centres and tragedies at sea, he said.

Sarah Hanson-Young, Greens immigration spokeswoman, urged the government to repeal a Howard government legislation which remove territories from the migration zone. She said people arriving by boat were still sent to mandatory and indefinite detention, which is the "harshest part” in the offshore visa processing policy.

David Manne, a refugee lawyer, said the new single processing system could put all immigrants seeking protection from Australia on a more equal footing, regardless of the vehicle in which they arrived.

"It can only improve the quality of decision-making by ending the discriminatory scheme based on how and where people arrived in Australia," he said.

Under the new framework, asylum-seekers who arrive by boat from Saturday will have their claims heard under a statutory process with merits review by the RRT on appeal, Mr Bowen said.

It would mean "the protection obligations assessment process for irregular maritime arrivals will be consistent with that of onshore protection visa applicants".

The department of Immigration will also begin processing complementary protection claims, for applicants under threats not covered by the Refugee Convention but still warranting protection.

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