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Australian Government Releases Notice to Immigration Detention Clients on Christmas Island

Canberra, Australia (News4us.com) March 18, 2011

Australian Government Releases Notice to Immigration Detention Clients on Christmas Island

Australian Government Releases Notice to Immigration Detention Clients on Christmas Island

Your concerns about delay in finalising cases are understandable. The Government has taken steps to improve and speed up processes. These are being put in place and we anticipate significant improvement in timeframes.

Interviews by primary decision makers and reviewers have been delayed while there have been unrest at North West Point. The Government is ready to resume the interviews, providing the centre is calm.

We are planning to resume moving people to the mainland in accordance with the criteria below.

Details on these processes and other actions the Government wishes to take are set out in this notice. If the centre remains calm, normal operations can resume.

The Government is also providing this information to clients in other detention facilities on the mainland as they will equally benefit from these arrangements.

Security checking
New streamlined processes have recently been developed for security checking so that the checks can be completed much faster.

This means that for most cases, security checking for people whose refugee claims have now been accepted will be completed progressively by the end of April.

The Government will not compromise on national security.

Independent Merits Reviews
The Minister has recently appointed additional reviewers to support faster processing of claims. Reviewers were planned to be on Christmas Island but were delayed by the recent disturbances. Processing can resume if the centre remains calm. A group of 10 15 reviewers will be on the island next week. Some interviews will occur via video link before this. Those clients who have not had a merits review of a negative primary decision and who have been in detention for the longest time will have priority.

The primary examination process will also resume with an expected team of 15 staff arriving on Christmas Island once the reviewers finish their work.

Transfers to the Australian mainland will not affect the timing of any reviews. Migration agents will be advised of the schedule.

Clients who have been mandated by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)
Clients who have been mandated as refugees by the UNHCR have asked why they need to also go through a refugee assessment process in Australia. While advice from the UNHCR is an important part of the assessment process, we need to also assess your claims against Australian law and policy. This assessment is based on your protection claims and current country information. Your assessment officer will also look at when the UNHCR assessment was made and whether there have since been changes in country circumstances.

Transfers of clients from Christmas Island to the mainland
Transfers from Christmas Island to Australian mainland immigration detention centres will resume when and where places are available. Priority will be given to the following clients:

  • those who have been found to be refugees through the Australian Government’s process but are awaiting security checks
  • those who have spent the longest time on Christmas Island
  • those who have been mandated as refugees by the UNHCR, and
  • vulnerable clients, namely, those with significant physical and/or mental problems.

Clients will not be forced to move to the Australian mainland.

Further visit by members of the Council for Immigration Services and Status Resolution (CISSR)
Members of the CISSR are currently on Christmas Island discussing concerns and issues with clients. They will return in two weeks’ time to check on progress with the measures above, and will report on this to the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship.

The Australian Government will do these things, provided facilities remain calm.

AUTHORISED BY THE AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT, CANBERRA


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