Australia Wednesday returned another 48 illegal Sri Lankan migrants arrived in boats back to Sri Lanka after they failed to meet Australia's international obligations, the Australia's Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) said.
Several families were among the 48 unauthorized maritime arrivals (UMAs) returned to Colombo from Christmas Island today.
The group consisted of 35 single adult males and 13 people in family groups including 7children, the DIAC said.
With the latest send-off, since August 13, 2012, Australia has more than 1300 Sri Lankans home and more than 1100 of them involuntarily.
According to a DIAC spokesman returning the group to Sri Lankans sends a powerful message.
The spokesman said when people arrive in Australia without a valid visa, the DIAC assesses the claims they make for their reasons to travel to Australia and if the claims are not covered by Australia's international obligations, they will be returned to their homeland wherever possible.
"If they are not quickly returned to Colombo, they will be taken to Papua New Guinea or Nauru where their claims will be assessed," the spokesman said.
Under new rules announced on July 19, anyone who arrives in Australia by boat without a visa no longer has the chance to settle in Australia.
"These enhanced screening arrangements will continue and if they do not engage Australia's international obligations, people will be quickly returned to Sri Lanka," the spokesman said.
"This is making it clear that those who pay smugglers are throwing their money away and risking their lives in the process."
People returned involuntarily do not have access to reintegration assistance, the spokesman added.