Feb 07, Colombo: A group of six Sri Lankan asylum seekers, who arrived in Australia illegally in boats, have opted to return home voluntarily.
Accordingly, the Australian authorities have sent the group of 6 adult men back to Colombo Wednesday on a flight from Perth following their transfer from mainland detention sites, the Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship said.
A spokesman of the Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship said the men departed voluntarily.
"They chose not to pursue their asylum claims and no longer seek to engage Australia's protection obligations," the spokesman said.
"This is further proof that there is no advantage engaging with people smugglers," he added.
The return of 6 asylum seekers to Colombo brings the total number of returns to 936 since the Australian government enacted new laws on August 13, 2012 to transfer irregular maritime arrivals to offshore processing facilities in Nauru and Manus Island in Papua New Guinea.
The spokesman said that while further transfers to Nauru would occur in the coming weeks, it was also expected more people would choose to return to their home country voluntarily.
People in a regional processing center or immigration detention facility can request their removal from Australia at any time.