‘Game is up’ for ‘fake refugees’ in Australia

SYDNEY: Australia on Sunday gave 7,500 boat people until October to file a claim proving they are genuine refugees or be kicked out, declaring the “game is up” for illegal arrivals ripping off taxpayers.
Before the conservatives took power and adopted a tough line on the issue in 2013, an estimated 50,000 asylum-seekers flooded into Australia on more than 800 boats over the previous five years.
Hundreds more, many from war-torn Afghanistan, Sri Lanka and the Middle East, died at sea during the treacherous journey.
Of those arrivals, the old Labor government processed nearly 20,000, leaving 30,500 to the current administration.
Some 7,500 of them have yet to present their cases for asylum or are refusing to answer questions about their identity, while claiming welfare benefits, casting doubt on whether they really need protection.
Immigration Minister Peter Dutton said that if they fail to lodge a claim by October 1, they will be removed from the country and banned from re-entering.
“This is a very serious situation and it’s costing Australian taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars a year,” he said.
Dutton said the cost of processing and supporting the 50,000 boat people amounted to Aus$1.9 billion ($1.4 billion) a year.
Of the 30,500 left to the current government to deal with, 23,000 have applied for protection. — AFP