Monday, November 21, 2011

Australian taxpayers wear burden of 60,000 illegal immigrants

In a population of 22 million

AUSTRALIA has enough illegal immigrants on the loose to populate a large regional city. A Herald Sun investigation has found that nearly 60,000 people - one in every 390 - is in the country unlawfully, sparking renewed calls for a crackdown.

The 58,400 foreign citizens hiding illegally among us easily outnumber the populations of Mildura or Shepparton - Victoria's fifth and sixth biggest cities. And they dwarf the 4700 asylum seekers who arrived by boat in 2010-11.

Documents released to the Herald Sun under Freedom of Information also reveal the biggest groups of illegals are Chinese, Americans, Malaysians, Britons and South Koreans.

More than half have been here for five or more years; 20,000 for a decade or more; and two in three have evaded authorities for more than two years. (The figures do not include visitors who overstay visas by less than a fortnight.)

Ethnic Communities Council of Victoria chairman Sam Afra said illegal residents attracted little of the outrage associated with boat people, despite taking jobs and housing, using public services, and not paying tax.

He said it was far too easy to stay here if you knew how to "work the system". "It's shocking," he said. "To have one in three who have been here more than 10 years (suggests) something's wrong with the system."

"Nobody's talking about it. It is a problem, and the question is, don't you think the damage justifies putting more resources in (to find them)?"

He said the involvement of illegals in criminal and other dubious activities also sullied the reputations of legal migrants.

Jailed terrorist cell leader Abdul Benbrika lived illegally for years after arriving on a visitor's visa in 1989. Three months after marrying in 1992, while still an illegal, he successfully applied to stay, living on welfare with his wife and seven children until his arrest in 2005.

Illegal immigrants have also been involved in drug cartels, sexual slavery, and fraud. Illegals accused of guarding marijuana crops in Melbourne and regional Victoria were among 43 people arrested last year in raids focusing on a $400 million crime syndicate.

A charter flight to deport 76 illegal aliens from Malaysia and Indonesia, busted picking fruit in Mooroopna last year, cost taxpayers $100,000.

Australian Human Rights Commission president Catherine Branson, QC, said it was important to remember many more overstayed visas, or arrived by plane and sought asylum, than arrived by boat.

"Another misconception is that people who arrive by boat are illegal immigrants. Australia is obliged to assess asylum seekers' claims."

There were 10,600 more illegals at June 30 last year than in 2005.


Behind the "healthy immigrant" story in Canada

Newly arrived immigrants are healthier than their Canadian-born counterparts, but can then expect their health to decline the longer they stay in Canada, new research suggests.

Two studies released Wednesday by Statistics Canada add more evidence to the existence of the "healthy immigrant effect."

Statistics Canada researchers tracked some 2.7 million Canadians, a little more than 552,000 — or 20 per cent — of whom were immigrants from 1991-2001, and surveyed 350,000 people, including almost 50,000 immigrants, to determine the health of various segments of the Canadian population.

Overall, newly arrived immigrants to Canada had lower mortality rates than the Canadian-born, and also reported lower levels of fair or poor health, according to the studies.

Those mortality rates tended to rise the further removed immigrants were from their arrival in Canada, as were the reported levels of fair or poor health.

Data from surveys of immigrants showed in fact that those who had been in the country for 10 years or longer reported being less healthy than residents born in Canada.

Why that's the case isn't answered in the Statistics Canada papers, but research has pointed to a number of factors for the "healthy immigrant effect."

"The immigration policy tends to let people in who are healthier," said Edward Ng, a senior analyst in the health analysis division of Statistics Canada.

The more time they spend in Canada, the less likely they are to go through the same rigorous medical screening, raising possibilities that they can become sick, said Ng, who wrote the study on mortality rates.

Another problem for newly arrived immigrants, who don't speak either official language very well, is that they are less likely to access health-care services, or less likely to land a job, both of which can increase the likelihood that they can become sick, Ng said.

Another explanation may be that once they arrive in Canada, new immigrants learn they have conditions that previously went undiagnosed, said Michelle Rotermann, who penned the study on self-reported health and diagnosed medical conditions.

It may also be a cohort effect where long-term immigrants arrived in Canada in worse health than those who have arrived more recently, Rotermann said.

Not all newly arrived immigrants were healthier than the Canadian-born.

The studies found that American and Sub-Sahara African immigrants had mortality rates similar to the Canadian-born.

Newly arrived immigrants from North Africa, the Middle East and Asia reported higher levels of fair or poor health than the Canadian-born.

Rotermann said both studies point to a need for long-term research into the health of immigrants to answer the "why" question raised in the data as the number of immigrants to Canada rises.

Statistics Canada expects immigrants to make up one-quarter of the population by 2031 from the 20 per cent recorded in the 2006 census.


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