Refugee scam busted

Remember when Labour opposed the toughening up of our immigration policy regarding illegal immigrants?

They said that no one would try to, or could, get here. As usual, they were wrong.

Two men have been arrested after trying to lure 100 Sri Lankan refugees to New Zealand with the promise of lucrative jobs.

The refugees, based in the far southeast state of Tamil Nadu, India, were being readied to board the ferry when authorities stepped in.

Authorities say they foiled the attempt, seizing a 22-metre boat, three vans and arresting two men, according to the Colombo Gazette.

Sri Lanka’s civil war ended in 2009 after 25 years of infighting, displacing hundreds of thousands of refugees.

Refugees face a dangerous journey out of Sri Lanka, which does not permit citizens to migrate, so many choose to risk travelling farther afield to countries like Australia rather than the limbo of a refugee camp in southeast India.  

More than 150,000 people are estimated to be living in more than 100 refugee camps in the Tamil Nadu state but Indian authorities are unwilling to grant permanent rights or refugee status.

Tamil, Sri Lankan and Indian refugees have little support and are exploited in schemes offering transport and jobs in other countries.

In 2009, there was an international standoff when Tamil asylum seekers refused to disembark an Australian ship, the MV Oceanic Viking, after they were rescued in rough seas. New Zealand agreed to grant refugee status to 13 Sri Lankan Tamils.

In the latest attempted people-smuggling incident, the coastguard told the Colombo Gazette the alleged traffickers planned to ferry 100 refugees from the fishing village of Muttom to New Zealand, a journey of some 11,000 kilometres.

That is a long way to try to sail, in an overcrowded tub, but they will keep on trying.

No doubt some womble on the left will call for us to be compassionate and let them in.


– Fairfax


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