Australian efforts to combat Sri Lankan irregular migration

The Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Brendan O’Connor, sought to strengthen ongoing cooperation with Sri Lanka on the shared challenges of irregular migration and people smuggling during his May 2-4 visit to Sri Lanka.

The visit also highlighted Australia’s keen interest in continuing to work closely with Sri Lanka on issues discussed at the recent Bali Process meeting. Mr O’Connor travelled with Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) secretary Martin Bowles who co-chaired the inaugural meeting of the Sri Lanka-Australia Joint Working Group on People Smuggling and Transnational Crime in December last year.

DIAC funds a range of activities to assist Sri Lanka to improve border management practices along with Displaced Persons Program (DPP) projects that are designed to support people’s livelihoods and future prospects in Sri Lanka.

Meanwhile, a further 42 Sri Lankan irregular maritime arrivals were returned home on May 1. Almost 1100 Sri Lankans have been returned home since August 13 last year, when the government accepted the recommendations of the Expert Panel on Asylum Seekers. View Minister Brendan O'Connor: media conference grabs

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