Thirteen Sri Lankan immigrants who arrived in Australia illegally were returned on Friday, the Australian High Commission today said.
Issuing a statement, the High Commission said the individuals returned were not intercepted on a recent illegal maritime venture.
“These non-citizens have been found not to engage Australia’s protection obligations, and have no lawful basis to remain in Australia. People who have no lawful basis to remain in Australia are expected to return home. Settlement in Australia will never be an option for anyone who attempts to travel to Australia illegally by boat,” it said.
It said the Australian Government was continuing its efforts to remove Illegal Maritime Arrivals (IMAs) if they have been found to have no valid claim to protection and have no further outstanding immigration matters.
“Australia will continue to remove individuals and groups to Sri Lanka, on both a voluntary and involuntary basis. Australia remains committed to stamping out people smuggling and preventing people from risking their lives at sea. Any people smuggling boats that attempt to reach Australia will be intercepted and turned back,” the statement said.