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* More Sri Lankan asylum seekers opt to return home from Australia
Mon, Jan 21, 2013, 09:42 am SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Jan 21, Colombo: A group of seven 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 seven adult men back to Colombo today on a flight from Perth following their transfer from mainland detention sites, the Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship confirmed.

"They chose not to pursue their asylum claims and no longer seek to engage Australia's protection obligations," a Department of Immigration and Citizenship spokesman said.

The spokesman said the return is further proof that there is no advantage engaging with people smugglers.

Earlier last week six Sri Lankan asylum seekers returned to Colombo voluntarily.

With the latest return 213 Sri Lankan asylum seekers have voluntarily departed Australia since August 13 when the Australian government announced irregular maritime arrivals would be liable for transfer to regional processing facilities in Nauru and Manus Island in Papua New Guinea.

Altogether 942 Sri Lankans have returned home - both voluntarily and involuntarily.

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

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