Opposition immigration spokesman Scott Morrison says the number of asylum seekers on Christmas Island given refugee status this year is further proof of the Labor Government’s failed border protection regime. The Federal Opposition has described the Christmas Island detention centre as a visa factory, following the release of new figures on visa approvals.

The Immigration Department says almost 660 asylum seekers detained on Christmas Island have been given refugee status so far this year, compared to last year’s total of about 1,130.

Opposition immigration spokesman Scott Morrison says the figures are further proof of the Labor Government’s failed border protection regime. “It backs up the claim that the Christmas Island has truly become a visa factory under the Rudd Government,” he said. “Under the Rudd Government we’ve had 93 boats arrive now. We’ve got over 2,000 people now on Christmas Island. “Things are out of control and they continue to deny that they have a problem.” Mr Morrison says he is concerned by “just how quickly these applications are being granted [and] what substantiation is being made to support the claims.”

A Federal Government spokesman says there has been an increase in refugee visa approvals along with the increase in boat arrivals in Australian waters. He says all asylum seekers arriving by boat go through rigorous health, security and identity checks. [But no checks on whether they are really “endangered”?]

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