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* Australia announces tough new measures for illegal boat arrivals
Thu, Dec 5, 2013, 01:22 am SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Dec 04, Colombo: Australian government has abolished the permanent protection visas granted to illegal boat arrivals before and vowed not to grant visas to anyone coming illegally by boats.

The tough new measures for illegal boat arrivals were announced on December 3 and anyone who arrived in Australia before 19 July 2013 is subject to tougher rules, Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, Scott Morrison, said today.

Morrison said the anti-people smuggling measures the Australian Government had introduced, including a ban on permanent protection visas for people who arrived before July 19 this year, demonstrated the strength of the Government's resolve to stop the illegal trade.

He said the government has acted swiftly to ensure that none of the 33,000 people who arrived in Australia illegally by boat and were yet to be processed will be granted a permanent visa.

Mr Morrison said the Australian Government's message is crystal clear: "you should not come because you will not be allowed to stay."

"The Coalition will never act to honour the promise of a people smuggler by providing their customers with permanent visas in Australia," Mr Morrison said.

"'In addition I will be using my powers under Section 46(A) of the Migration Act to prevent anyone who had arrived illegally by boat to make applications for a permanent protection visa. This bar will remain in effect until such time temporary protection visas are able to be granted to boat arrivals," he said.

However, the measures will have no impact on those granted protection through the government's offshore refugee and humanitarian programme, the Minister assured.

Protection visas for offshore applicants, waiting in camps and other such places, will continue to be issued as normal. He said it is important that people who come the right way have continued access to this programme.

He said the government will stand up to any challenge that comes in its way on illegal boat arrivals, be that from people smugglers or the opposition parties.

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