Authorities hunt dozens of asylum seekers

Border security officers are trying to track down 36 asylum seekers who missed a cut-off date to seek protection in Australia.

Dozens of asylum seekers are being hunted by authorities after missing a deadline to claim protection in Australia.

The federal government last year gave roughly 7000 asylum seekers who arrived by boat a non-negotiable October 1 deadline to "lodge it or leave".

Just 71 people failed to apply for temporary protection or safe haven visas by the cut-off date, a Senate committee was told on Monday.

Twenty of these asylum seekers have since left Australia, with all but one departing voluntarily.

Another individual has unique circumstances which require further assessment, senators were told.

Seven months on, Australian Border Force officials are still trying to track down 36 people who failed to lodge applications.

"The remainder (14) are in immigration detention pending removal or are in correctional facilities having been charged or convicted of a criminal offence," a Home Affairs officer said.

Announcing the cut-off date in May last year, Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton declared "fake refugees" were bleeding Australian taxpayers of hundreds of millions of dollars in annual welfare payments.

The government was also concerned some of the cohort had lived in the community for several years without a deep analysis of their backgrounds.

Mr Dutton indicated his department would deal swiftly with those who did not meet the deadline, considering it an indication the person no longer intended to seek protection in Australia.

The so-called "legacy caseload" refers to roughly 30,500 asylum seekers who arrived by sea between late 2012 and early 2014, roughly 23,000 of whom had already applied for protection when the deadline was announced.

2 min read
Published 21 May 2018 at 10:04pm
Source: AAP