Facts on Asylum Seekers
Letter to the Editor - The Age
19 July 2005
It is disappointing to see that your newspaper has again confused the facts on asylum seekers in today’s article (One man freed, the detention agony continues, 19/7/05).
It is important to note that only about 25 per cent of people taken into detention seek asylum and many of them only after they have been detained as a result of overstaying their visa or visa cancellation for breach of its conditions.
The majority of asylum seekers in Australia have entered with a valid visa and are free in the community while they pursue their claims.
Asylum claims from people in detention are processed as the highest priority. If asylum seekers in detention are found to be owed refugee protection, they are granted an appropriate visa and released into the community.
Around 80 per cent of the large number of unauthorised boat arrivals seeking asylum between 1999 and 2001 were granted refugee protection by department decision-makers and released years ago. These decisions were made on average within 3-5 months.
Asylum seekers found not to be refugees can seek a review of their case by the relevant tribunals, or challenge the decisions in the courts. That is their right, but this can prolong their time in detention.