The Turnbull Government has today set a deadline for thousands of Illegal Maritime Arrivals (IMAs) who flooded into Australia under the previous Labor Government to prove they are genuine refugees and owed protection by Australia.
They must lodge applications for processing by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) by October 1.
There are 7500 IMAs who landed in Australia during the Labor years who have failed or refused to present their case for asylum.
Some of these people have been here for more than five years. Yet they have failed or refused to take any action to present their case for protection.
Many are residing in Australia on government funded support which last year cost the Australian taxpayer approximately $250 million in income support alone.
The Coalition is determined to clean up the illegal immigration mess created in five chaotic years of Labor Government and ease the ongoing burden on Australian taxpayers that Labor’s failed open-border policies has imposed for years to come.
The October 1 deadline is non-negotiable.
Any IMA who has not lodged an application to have their claim for asylum assessed by the DIBP by that date will be deemed to have forfeited any claim to protection.
They will be subject to removal from Australia, prohibited from applying for any Australian visa, cut from government income support and banned from re-entering Australia.
They will be issued a short term visa while departure or removal is organised. It will provide minimal rights - to work, Medicare and education for children as required by Australia’s international obligations.
Some 17,000 IMAs are currently supported by DIBP’s Status Resolution Support Services (SRSS) at an annual cost of approximately half a billion dollars.
Since Labor threw open Australia's borders to people smugglers allowing them to send 50,000 IMAs on more than 800 boats to Australia over five years, the cost to the Australian taxpayer of processing and then supporting these people has topped more than $13.7 billion.
Australians have every right to question why an estimated 80%+ of IMAs arrived without any identity documents.
In such circumstances processing their claims for protection has proven challenging and complex. The Coalition has expedited this process as much as possible.
The October cut-off for lodgement of protection claims will ensure that Australian taxpayers are not providing financial support to people who have no right to be in Australia.
50,000 Illegal Maritime Arrivals landed in Australia under Labor between 2008 and 2013
Labor processed 20,000 of these people
It stopped processing IMAs in August 2012
That left 30,500 people yet to be processed – this is known as the Legacy Caseload
23,000 of the Legacy Caseload have applied for TPVs or SHEVs
Of those 6500 have been granted a TPV or SHEV
3000 have already been found not to be refugees and must leave Australia
13,000 are having their claims assessed
Around 7500 remain outside the process and have not presented their case for protection
It is this 7500 that are caught by the October deadline
There are currently 17,500 IMAs who receive SRSS support
In 2015-16 support for IMAs cost the Australian taxpayer just approximately $1.9 billion
Since 2007-08 the total cost to Australians of Labor’s failed open-border policy failure is $13.7 billion