Targeting New Zealand now as back door to Australia

People smugglers appear to now be targeting New Zealand as a back door route to get into Australia rather than via boats.

People smugglers are concocting a new product to sell to asylum seekers: flying them into Australia on fake tourist visas to sidestep the harsh policies of both political parties aimed at people arriving on boats.

Three groups of Iranian asylum seekers in the Indonesian province of West Java have said smugglers’ agents have approached them in recent days with a plan that comes with a money-back guarantee.

For between $US15,000 ($16,350) and $US25,000 per person – three to five times the average boat fare – they will fly them from Indonesia to Thailand or Malaysia, then to Australia on a genuine but altered passport, probably from Europe.

The smugglers say their proposal avoids the Papua New Guinea solution and the opposition’s temporary resettlement plan.

Iranian Binai Abdu Samad said many people ”already came here [to Indonesia] with illegal passports … now a smuggler is saying, ‘We’ll prepare for you a tourist visa.’

”When you get to Australia, you cut the passport and go to immigration and say I am a refugee. They can’t send you back then,” he said. ”And you will get a lawyer with the smuggler’s help.”

And then there is the New Zealand connection…a discounted version.

The idea is one of a number being pitched to an audience of desperate people dismayed by the Rudd government’s Papua New Guinea solution and the opposition’s tough new policy.

Another idea is a route from Indonesia to New Zealand by boat – a journey the smugglers say will cost $US5000 and take 15 days.

It’s clear from what asylum seekers are saying that the new offerings remain in the marketing phase.

A Department of Immigration spokesman said tight security meant few people travelling on false documents made it to Australia.

But, if they did and claimed asylum, ”those [claims] are assessed”.

”These numbers remain small,” he said.

But it is all ok, Labour says there is no problem.

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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.