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Friday, April 19, 2013 - 4.11 GMT
Geraldton boat arrivals sent back to Sri Lanka


The Asutralian government has involuntarily returned 38 Sri Lankan asylum seekers who made 44-day boat voyage to Geraldton last week.

They will not be entitled to reintegration assistance.

Immigration Minister Brendan O'Connor said none of those returned had raised issues that engaged protection obligations.

Another 28 are still having their claims for protection processed. Another Sri Lankan who had arrived on a separate boat was also deported. Since August 13, the government has returned 1004 Sri Lankans who arrived on boats - 795 involuntarily.

''Returning this group to Sri Lanka sends the powerful message that people who pay smugglers are throwing their money away and risking their lives in the process,'' Mr O'Connor said. ''There is no fast track … If they do not engage Australia's protection obligations, they will be returned home.''

“There is no advantage to arriving in Australia by boat,” he said.

Sri Lankan asylum seekers are subject to ''enhanced screening'', in which authorities assess whether or not they have a genuine claim for protection before they have gone through the formal application process for refugee status.






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Last modified: April 19, 2013.

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