Australia has given illegal immigrants until Oct. 1 to prove they are legitimate refugees or face deportation from the country.
Minister for Immigration and Border Protection Peter Dutton announced a crackdown Sunday on “fake refugees” who arrived illegally by boat. Dutton said 7,500 out of the 50,000 people who have arrived by boat in recent years refused to provide any documents of their identity.
“Those people who are fake refugees – people who are refusing to provide detail about their claim of protection … we are going to set a deadline for those people, and we have set that deadline for the end of this year in October,” Dutton said, according to 9 News.
Australia has some of the toughest immigration laws in the world. People who arrive illegally are put in indefinite detention on off-shore islands. Many have criticized the practice after revelations of abuse, rape and suicide on the islands. (RELATED: The Islands Australia Is Sending Its Refugees From Are Plagued By Scandals)
Dutton said “fake refugees” cost taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars each year — money he would rather spend elsewhere.
“This is a very serious situation that’s costing Australian taxpayers hundreds of millions dollars a year — money that could be spent on education, on health, on police, on other services in the community,” he said. “If people think they can rip the Australian taxpayer off, if people think that they can con the Australian taxpayer, then I’m sorry, the game’s up.”
The government is also trying to limit legal immigration. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced plans in April to replace visas for temporary foreign workers in order to put “Australians first.” (RELATED: Aussie PM ‘Puts Australia First,’ Restricts Immigration)
Two new temporary skills visas that require more work experience and greater English skills will replace the so-called 457 visa. The change will not affect the 95,000 people who currently hold a 457 visa.
“We will no longer allow 457 visas to be passports to jobs that could and should go to Australians,” Turnbull said in a statement. “We’re putting jobs first, and we’re putting Australians first.”
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