Australia toughens up asylum-seeker policy


Australia says it is set to introduce tougher reforms in the case of the country’s asylum-seeker policy, placing more pressure on refugees to prove their claims.

According to Migration Amendment (Protection and Other Measures) Bill 2014, introduced by Australian Immigration Minister Scott Morrison, visas may be denied to those who fail to present traveling documents.

“Australians need to be confident that those who are found to be refugees are in fact who they say they are,” Morrison said, adding, “… if asylum seekers do not cooperate with the government to establish their identity they should not be given the benefit of the doubt.”

The new changes to the policy will make it difficult for asylum seekers who are already in Australia to make visa applications.

The bill will also set limitations for those who may face harm if they are sent back home, unless they provide a “reasonable explanation” for not having identification.

Based on the bill, those asylum seekers who have arrived by boat will be refused visas, unless it is determined that “it is in the public interest to allow them to do so.”

Over the past few years, Australia has tightened its asylum-seeker policy, refusing residency to unauthorized boat arrivals.

These refugees are kept at detention camps on Manus Island in Papua New Guinea and Nauru.

Last week, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said he was “very satisfied” with the situation, as Australia marked six months since the last asylum-seeker boat arrival.

Earlier this year, thousands of people took to the streets in Australia in protest against Abbott’s harsh policies.

The United Nations human rights office has also called on Australia to review its asylum-seeker policy.