Another group of 42 Sri Lankan illegal immigrants were flown home from Christmas Island to Colombo today, taking the number of Sri Lankans returned to the country since August 13 last year to 1,071– 862 of them involuntarily, the Australian High Commission in Colombo said.
Meanwhile Immigration and Citizenship Minister Brendan O’Connor will travel to Colombo this week as part of the Gillard Government’s continuing commitment to deepening Australia’s relationship with Sri Lanka.
The Minister will meet senior government ministers and agency officials to discuss ongoing cooperation in enhancing migration management.
The Minister will also seek to strengthen ongoing cooperation with Sri Lanka on the shared challenges of irregular migration and people smuggling.
Mr O’Connor said the visit would highlight Australia’s keen interest in continuing to work closely with Sri Lanka on issues discussed at the recent Bali Process meeting.
“Sri Lanka is an important regional partner, and I hope my visit will work to reinforce our already strong working relationship on a range of migration issues,” Mr O’Connor said.
“Of the many issues that will be discussed, I particularly want to convey Australia’s appreciation for Sri Lanka’s continued cooperation in the return of Sri Lankan nationals who are found not to be owed protection in Australia” a release from the High Commission said.