Friday, July 22, 2011

Crazy deal by the Australian government

Sending away 800 Afghan Muslim boat people and accepting 4,000 Burmese Buddhists instead is hard to explain. Though it may be a reflection of what Australians think of Muslims, I guess. And in the main, the Burmese are genuine refugees, which the Afghans are not

THE Federal Government's refugee swap agreement with Malaysia is a "bad deal" that will not stop asylum seekers, Opposition Leader Tony Abbott says. His comments come after reports that The Government could sign its refugee swap deal with Malaysia early next week.

Under a deal announced by Prime Minister Julia Gillard in May, Malaysia will take up to 800 asylum seekers arriving by boat, in return for Australia accepting 4000 processed [Burmese] refugees.

"It's a bad deal. I don't think it's going to stop the boats," Mr Abbott told the Nine Network. "It's now two-and-a-half months since the so-called Malaysia deal was announced and I think in that time we have had 10 boats and more than 500 people arrive."

Immigration Minister Chris Bowen is reportedly set to clinch the deal in Malaysia on Monday, Fairfax reported today, but the minister's office would not confirm this with the newspapers.

The head of the Malaysian police and the chairman of Malaysia's Human Rights Commission are expected to attend the signing ceremony, the report said.


New crackdown on illegal workers already in Australia

Illegal workers are a bigger problem for Australia's immigration system than boat people, an official report says, prompting the Federal Government to introduce tougher penalties for bosses caught using them.

The independent review, by barrister Stephen Howells , says a "significant number" of tourists, backpackers, business people and foreign students come to Australia and work illegally.

Mr Howells estimated that at least 50,000 people, and potentially more than 100,000 people, were working illegally in Australia.

His report found that organised rackets were behind some of the groups of illegal workers, who were vulnerable to sexual exploitation, unsafe work practices, underpayment, taxation and welfare fraud and associated crime.

He said there was a strong perception among illegal workers that the only punishment would be deportation at taxpayers' expense.

Mr Howells said immigration officials had identified at least 100 breaches since 2007, when the Howard government softened penalties for employers caught flouting the system. Of these, 10 had been thoroughly investigated but there had been only one successful prosecution. Mr Howells said the number of asylum seekers coming by boat was relatively small but a much larger group travelled here legally.

The crackdown on illegal workers follows Immigration Minister Chris Bowen announcing earlier this week that Perth would be declared a country town so it will be easier for businesses to bring in foreigners on working visas to meet skills shortages. He announced yesterday companies would face a fine of up to $10,000 per worker if caught using illegal labour.


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