Even as migrants from poor and war-torn countries continue their risky journey to European countries for a better life, the data available with the Department of Immigration and Border Protection, Australia, reveals that 171 Sri Lankan illegal migrants, including nine females and nine children, managed to reach Australian coast over the years.
The data further stated that many of those migrants used the Indian sub-continent as their springboard to reach the Antipodean.
However, the precise break-up of Lankans who illegally migrated to Australia from India is not available with the department.
According to the data provided by the Australian Consulate, as on 31 August 2015, 2,028 people were detained by the Australian Immigration authorities and sent them to immigration detention facilities. The number includes 1,807 in immigration detention on the mainland and 221 in immigration detention on Christmas Island of Australia.
Out of the 2,028 people, around 407 were from Iran, 184 from New Zealand, and 171 from Sri Lanka, followed by 142 from China and 121 from Vietnam. Speaking to ‘Express’ through an e-mail communication, Jon Bonnar, Deputy Consul-General for South India, said it has also been estimated that over 1,200 people were died at sea trying to reach Australia between 2008 and 2013.
There were no known incidents under Operation Sovereign Borders involving loss of life since December 2013, he said. He added that no separate statistics are available about the nationality of the dead people.
However, 735 were people were also allowed to live in the community after being approved for a residence determination as on 31 August 2015, the report said.
When asked if the Australian authorities would take any additional preventive measures in the wake of recent illegal migration attempt by a group of Sri Lankan refugees from Kerala coast, he said there is already the Australian Government’s tough border protection measures like the Operation Sovereign Borders (OSB).
Under OSB, anyone who comes to Australia illegally by boat without a visa will never be allowed to settle in Australia and no exception are made to women, children and unaccompanied children.
When asked if they would take up this issue with the Government of India in the wake of the recent attempts of migration from here, he said: “The Government of Australia and Government of India already have a good working relationship on the issue of illegal migration through the bilateral Joint Working Ground on Counter-Terrorism and Trans-National Crime.” (The Indian Express)