News Line

    Go to Home Back
Email this to a friend
Printable version
Monday, November 26, 2012 - 5.57 GMT

No chance of work for 'boat people' - Australia


There is no prospect for people arriving in boats to work in Australia while their claims are assessed, and that they will be forced to survive on minimal subsistence from the government, the Australian government said.

The deputy secretary of the Department of Immigration and Citizenship, Peter Vardos, said in Colombo that despite the Nauru and Manus Island detention centres being full, asylum seekers given bridging visas to live in Australia would have no capacity to earn money.

''That will not happen - they will not have work rights and they will have minimal subsistence from the federal government to help them,'' he said.

Asylum seekers will be eligible for 89 per cent of the NewStart allowance, about $438 a fortnight.

''One selling point of the people smugglers is that people can come to Australia while their claims are being processed that they can work in the Australian community, earn an income and repatriate remittances to their country. That will not happen,'' Vardos said.

Australia wanted skilled migrants. ''We do not need semi- or unskilled people, we do not need people who unilaterally show up on our shores and say 'Give me a job'. I can appreciate why people seek a better life for themselves, but it's a risky journey and people die.''

Earlier this month, the department's regional director for South Asia, Jose Alvarez, said in Colombo many on the boats to Australia wanted jobs, and had been sold lies and false promises by the smugglers.

''The ones we returned were all about the fact that once they arrive they'll be able to go into the community and work and then send the money back. It was all about having job opportunities.''

A video message from the Immigration Minister, Chris Bowen, has been broadcast to the Sri Lankan media in English, Sinhala and Tamil.

''People are dying at sea on unseaworthy boats, based on false promises and lies about what awaits them in Australia. This is unacceptable,'' he said.




Contact Information:: Send mail to with questions or comments about this web site.
Last modified: November 26, 2012.

Copyright 2008 Policy Research & Information Unit of the Presidential Secretariat of Sri Lanka. All Rights Reserved.