The Australian government has told 81 Iranian asylum seekers that they will not be allowed to settle in Australia.
The people who arrived by boat at Christmas Island over the weekend are coming to the realisation their dangerous journey has been futile.
The 81 Iranians were told by the Immigration authorities they would not be able to settle in Australia, based on new asylum processing arrangements urgently announced on Friday.
In the message delivered at North West Point Immigration Detention Centre (NWP IDC) at Christmas Island, they were told of the new arrangement between Australia and PNG.
This is the first vessel to berth at Christmas Island after the changed policy was announced. As per the new policy, people who arrived without a visa would not be allowed to live in Australia. Instead, they would be sent to Papua New Guinea and settled there, the Australian Prime Minister said.
Australia plans to send these people to PNG’s Manus Island, beginning with single men and later including women and children, The Australian reported.
Department of Immigration and Citizenship acting regional manager Steven Karras said the new arrivals listened calmly to the message.
“In this case, the message we did give them was quite clear, in terms of where they will be processed and I think that probably sank in a bit,” Steven said.
He said a number of the clients said if they’d known the rules had changed, they wouldn’t have come to Australia on a people smuggler’s boat.
“It was apparent to me that they did understand what this message meant,” he said.
“I’m sure they’re now thinking about whether it was wise to come in the first place.
“And I think in fact over the coming days…they will start to contemplate very seriously whether in fact returning home is a better option.”