“Asia” apparently includes the Middle East these days

A MASSIVE influx of up to 10,000 asylum seekers is expected to head to Australia, Indonesian authorities have warned.

About 1500 asylum seekers have already arrived in Indonesia from Malaysia by boat this year and registered for refugee status, while the same number again are believed to have arrived and not registered, Fairfax newspapers report.

Malaysia is used as a staging point to obtain tourist visas before refugees seek passage to Australia via Indonesia. The refugees are believed to include people from Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Burma and Iraq.

An Australian immigration enforcement official says the high volumes of people present a similar situation to the thousands who began arriving in the late 1990s.

With Australian financial and technical support, the Indonesian government will announce on Wednesday a strike team of 12 dedicated police to combat human trafficking. But the sheer number of asylum seekers from Malaysia will put pressure on the new security measures.

Coordinator of the Malaysian immigration support group Tenaganita, Aegile Fernandez agreed that up to 10,000 asylum seekers in Malaysia were planning to come to Australia. “I would put the blame on these agencies that have been promising Australia as the destination,” she said.

The United Nations High Commission for Refugees has 49,000 registered refugees and asylum seekers in its records in Malaysia and estimates there are 45,000 unregistered illegal immigrants.

SOURCE

Advertisements