New Australian law: all asylum seekers who arrive by boat will be processed offshore

Professor Jane McAdam writes for the Human Rights and Democracy  blog (22 May 2013).

Last week the Australian Parliament passed the Migration Amendment (Unauthorised Maritime Arrivals and Other Measures) Act 2012. The essence of this Act is that any asylum seeker arriving by boat who reaches either the Australian mainland or an excised territory is unable to apply for a protection visa within Australia and is to be transferred to a third country (Nauru or Papua New Guinea) for the processing of their protection claim.

Asylum seekers whose protection claims are assessed offshore do not have access to the same procedural protections that are available to those whose asylum claims are lodged on the Australian mainland (namely, those who come by plane). They do not have recourse to the Refugee Review Tribunal or the Australian courts for review of negative refugee status determinations. Furthermore, access by lawyers, NGOs and others is severely impeded owing to the remote locations of the centres (and the fact that other sovereign countries may refuse access to non-nationals).

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