CANBERRA, Australia: A record number of 95,000 people arrived via plane and sought asylum in Australia in the past five years, however, roughly 84% were found to have an invalid claim.
“Of the protection visa applications decided by the department between July 1, 2014 and August 19, 2019, 62,732 persons (84.2%) were refused,” the government said.
Kristina Keneally, the shadow minister for home affairs, said the rejection rate indicates people are “often being trafficked to Australia for the explicit purpose of being exploited”.
“Rogue operators and labour hire firms are exploiting vulnerable people in regional Australia,” she said.
In February, a parliamentary inquiry found organized crime and illegitimate labour hire companies taking advantage of immigration laws to exploit workers in Australia who were waiting for their claims to be processed – mostly Malaysians on electronic travel authorities.
“These individuals are exploiting Australia’s protection visa and merits review systems by repeatedly applying for merits review of the decision to refuse their protection visa application, allowing them to stay in Australia for a significant amount of time and seek employment,” the report said.
In some cases the appeals process takes up to eight years, and has costed $46 million in the past three years.
Immigration Minister David Coleman said, “Less than 0.25% people who arrived ‘lawfully’ in Australia applied for protection and most were refused.”
“The arrival of people on boats under Labor directly disadvantaged people who would otherwise have found support in Australia under our humanitarian program,” he said.
Since July 2013, more than 3,000 people have been sent to offshore detention in Nauru and Manus Island as no person who arrived by boat was allowed to apply for a protection.
The government data revealed that only 167 applications were lodged by people who arrived lawfully through a seaport between July 1, 2014 and August 19, 2019.
According to the United Nations the number of asylum seekers grew to 3.5 million, a dramatic increase of 1.7 million was witnessed compared to the previous year.