Four Oceanic Viking Tamils Refused Visas

Four Oceanic Viking Tamils refused visas

Posted Tue Jan 12, 2010 6:46am AEDT
Updated Tue Jan 12, 2010 7:32am AEDT

Four of the Sri Lankan refugees picked up by the Oceanic Viking have been refused visas to resettle in Australia because of security concerns.

The Immigration Department says some of the refugees rescued by the Australian Customs ship last year will not be resettled in Australia because of adverse security findings.

The Federal Government promised 78 Sri Lankans quick processing to coax them off the Oceanic Viking and into an Indonesian detention centre.

Some of them have been resettled in Australia or Canada.

But it is understood four of the Tamils have been refused visas for Australia and are being held at Christmas Island.

A spokeswoman for the Immigration Department says Australia is continuing to search for another country to resettle them.

She says they can also choose to leave Australia voluntarily.

Opposition Customs spokesman Michael Keenan says it is a problem of the Government's own making and as such it is up to it to find a solution.

“It appears that they've either brought people to Australia who they knew were a security risk, or alternatively, because of the special deal they did to bring the Oceanic Viking asylum seekers to Australia, they've actually brought people to Australia who they don't know terribly much about,” he said.

“Either of those options I think the Australian people will find appalling.

“This is really just the final or the penultimate episode of this Oceanic Viking incident, which really brought very little credit to the Labor Party and its government.

“The moral of the story is, don't do a special deal to bring people to Australia like what was done with the Oceanic Viking.”

The refugee ruling by the UNHCR means under Australia's international obligations, the four Sri Lankans cannot be sent back to the place they fled.


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