A possie in Aussie

April 5, 2010

The asylum seeker TPV: too expensive, too cruel, and it didn’t work

Filed under: asylum,asylum seeker,boat people,refugee — Nayano @ 8:32 am
Tags: , , ,

Around 4,500 boatpeople have attempted to seek asylum in Australia since the Labor government was elected about 30 months ago.

Asylum seekers in Australian immigration detention, Howard era

The Howard government imposed Temporary Protection Visas, which this government has since revoked, with the intention of deterring boat arrivals, reducing people smuggling, increasing security, and making resettlement places available to ‘more-deserving’ off-shore applicants.

Did it work?

Numbers of arrivals showed no reduction in the two years after the introduction of the TPV

Asylum seekers were given very rigorous security checks and no links with terrorism were found among them, and only a very tiny minority was rejected on other character grounds

The number of resettlement places available for the regular refugee program was indeed reduced by onshore claimants, but it was not necessary for the government to include those claimants in the existing quota, nor was it impossible for the government to increase the number of places overall.

In fact, there were unused places even after both the off-shore and onshore claims were settled.

In addition, the TPV cost the government more than it saved for compliance, processing, and appeals. Although government-funded settlement services did not have TPV holders added to their client load, the burden of settlement services did not disappear, but was shouldered by state governments, volunteers, and NGOs.

As well as having little effect on the numbers of arrivals and increasing the government’s fiscal burden, the TPV caused widespread and extreme suffering among holders, and caused separation of families for many years.


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