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* Australia sends 8 more Sri Lankan boat arrivals home
Sat, Nov 17, 2012, 11:36 am SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Nov 17, Colombo: Australian authorities have sent another eight Sri Lankan men arrived illegally in boats back to Sri Lanka today, the Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship confirmed.

The eight adult men, including five from Nauru, have voluntarily returned to Sri Lanka on a commercial flight departed from Perth and arrived.

The returnees have arrived in Colombo early today (November 17).

According to a Department spokesman transfers of boat arrivals to Nauru have continued and more would follow in the coming weeks.

"Regular transfers to Nauru and more Sri Lankans returning home is further proof that there is no advantage engaging with people smugglers," the spokesman said.

Australia has returned 332 Sri Lankans home - both voluntarily and involuntarily - since August 13 when the government announced irregular maritime arrivals would be liable for transfer to regional processing facilities in Nauru and Papua New Guinea.

However, Australia's new return policy has not deterred the Sri Lankan asylum seekers who take the perilous voyage in fishing trawlers.

Sri Lanka Navy Thursday (November 15) arrested 104 asylum seekers heading form Australia from the island's western shores. Nearly 3,000 illegal migrants to Australia have been arrested by the Sri Lankan Navy this year.

People detained in the offshore returns can voluntarily leave for home country at any time and those who return voluntarily may be eligible reintegration assistance through the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

Reintegration packages are determined on a case-by-case basis depending on need and eligibility, the Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship said.



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