Aug 08, Colombo: The Australian government has returned 13 Sri Lankan illegal immigrants who had gone there by sea and they were brought back to the country last Friday (August 04), the Australian High Commission in Colombo said in a statement.
The Australian Government said it can confirm that 13 illegal maritime arrivals (IMAs) were returned to Sri Lanka on 4 August.
"The individuals returned were not intercepted on a recent illegal maritime venture. These non-citizens have been found not to engage Australia's protection obligations, and have no lawful basis to remain in Australia. People who have no lawful basis to remain in Australia are expected to return home. Settlement in Australia will never be an option for anyone who attempts to travel to Australia illegally by boat," the statement stressed.
The Australian Government said it is continuing its efforts to remove IMAs if they have been found to have no valid claim to protection, and have no further outstanding immigration matters. "Australia will continue to remove individuals and groups to Sri Lanka, on both voluntary and involuntary basis."
"Australia remains committed to stamping out people smuggling and preventing people from risking their lives at sea. Any people smuggling boats that attempt to reach Australia will be intercepted and turned back," it reiterated.