Sri Lankan family pay people smugglers thousands cost Australian taxpayers millions

Australia is a good international citizen and does more than most to assist and resettle genuine refugees in need of protection.

But there are many people who seek to take advantage of Australia and Australians.

Today the Federal Court has again dismissed an appeal by members of a Sri Lankan family who have been living in Australia illegally to remain in Australia.

There has been widespread and continuing media coverage of this case which requires the facts to be made known.

Both these adults arrived in Australia illegally by boat and have been found not to be genuine refugees and therefore not owed protection by Australia over the ensuing six years.

Despite these findings they have constantly sought to use Australia’s judicial system to prevent their removal which is estimated to cost the Australian taxpayer over a million dollars.

This was the fifth appeal to the courts against the removal of these non-citizens from Australia. It is the fifth time the courts have dismissed their appeals.

The matter has been taken to the High Court and rejected.

The man is an Illegal Maritime Arrival (IMA) who arrived at Christmas Island in 2012 on a people smugglers boat with 99 other IMAs

The woman arrived illegally at Cocos Islands in 2013 on a people smugglers boat with 93 other IMAs.

As part of the 50,000 IMAs who arrived between 2008 and 2013, they were released intothe community on Bridging Visas while the then Department of Immigration heard their applications for protection.

They met and married and had two children in Australia and did so in the full knowledge that they had no right to remain in Australia. They have attempted to use their children as leverage and it is sad to see their children used in this way.

The man was found not to engage Australia’s protection obligations in late 2012.

In 2013 the Refugee Review Tribunal affirmed that decision.

He appealed to the courts, but that refusal was upheld in the Federal Magistrates Court in July 2014, then in the Full Federal Court in November 2014. The decision was upheld in the High Court in June 2015.

In other words – the Department of Immigration, the Refugee Review Tribunal and courts at three levels said the man was not a refugee.

The woman was found not to engage Australia’s protection obligations by the Department of Immigration in 2016.

In 2017 the Immigration Assessment Authority affirmed that refusal.

The family subsequently became unlawful non-citizens and should have departed the country just like 3,620 other Sri Lankans who have gone back to their country since 2011. Their failure to do so meant that they were taken into detention for removal.

After agreeing to voluntarily leave the country, the family withdrew from that agreement and the family then lodged further legal appeals.

Both subsequent legal appeals have now failed.

There have been claims that their children, born in Australia, are citizens. This is false.

Under application of the Migration Act, children of IMA parents born onshore take on the visa status of their parents at the time so both children are also determined to be IMAs – not Australian citizens.

Subsequent requests to recognise the children as refugees have also since failed. So this family’s case has been comprehensively assessed over many years to the highest judicial level and they have been found not to be refugees. They are foreign nationals who paid people smugglers to bring them to Australia illegally and have no legitimate reason to be granted visas to remain here.

Their actions to circumvent the migration system have taken years and come at great cost to the Australian taxpayer.

If these people had any regard for the Australian community, they would accept the umpire’s decision and leave the country and like thousands before them who have returned to Sri Lanka this family must do the same.

Our preference in every case is for foreign nationals who do not hold a valid visa and who have exhausted all outstanding avenues to remain in Australia depart voluntarily on their own accord.

Those unwilling to depart voluntarily will be subject to detention and removal from Australia.

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