Sri Lankan asylum seekers target New Zealand backdoor: Australia

Vastavam web: People smugglers are marketing New Zealand as a back door into Australia, an Australian government minister said Monday after Malaysian authorities intercepted a boat carrying Sri Lankan asylum seekers.More than 130 Sri Lankans believed to be heading for Australia and New Zealand were intercepted when Malaysian authorities halted the modified tanker on Tuesday off the coast of southern Johor state.

Malaysian police chief Mohamad Fuzi Harun said in a statement the group included 98 men, 24 women, four boys and five girls.”Some people it seems have been told different stories about their destination,” Dutton said. “New Zealand is now being marketed as a definite destination.” Because of Australia’s close ties with New Zealand, travelers who arrive in New Zealand immediately qualify for an Australian visa.

Australia has stopped asylum seekers from attempting to reach its shores aboard rickety fishing boats from Indonesian ports by refusing to allow boat arrivals to ever resettle on the Australian mainland.The boats used to arrive on Australian shores at a rate of more than one a day, but no boat smuggling people has arrived in Australia in almost four years.

But Dutton said 14,000 asylum seekers were waiting in Indonesia for a chance to come to Australia.”People realize that New Zealand is a backdoor way into Australia, that New Zealand is a comparable society to Australia,” Dutton said. “It has a similar welfare system, similar health, education offerings, housing, etc. – it is marketed in the same way as Australia is as a positive destination.”Malaysian police also raided a fishing boat used to transport the migrants to the vessel and detained three Indonesians and four Malaysians on board, Fuzi said. Another five Malaysians were arrested for suspected involvement in the smuggling syndicate.