The Australian Government has confirmed that 13 illegal maritime arrivals (IMAs) were returned to Sri Lanka.
According to a statement released by the Australian High Commission in Colombo, 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.”
The high commission said that settlement in Australia will never be an option for anyone who attempts to travel to Australia illegally by boat.
The Australian Government is continuing its efforts to remove IMAs if they have been found to have no valid claim to protection, and have no further outstanding immigration matters.
Australia said it 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,”