Fake refugees to face deportation on October 1, Australian government declares

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Turnbull, Dutton
Australia's Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull (L) and Minister for Immigration and Border Protection Peter Dutton speak on Australia's citizenship test during a press conference at Parliament House in Canberra, Australia, April 20, 2017. Reuters/Lukas Coch

The Australian government has issued an ultimatum to over 7,500 "fake refugees" currently residing in Down Under. Illegal immigrants were told they only have until October to file a formal application for refugee status to avoid facing deportation.

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton said that the "game is up" for refugees who arrived illegally by boat under the previous Labor government between 2007 and 2013. He told the press on Sunday that the government is giving them less than six months to prove to the Immigration Department their case for legal protection.

The minister said that fake refugees, those who arrived in the country with no identifying document, can lodge the process and start with proceedings until Oct.1. He warned that those who fail to comply will be cut off from welfare support and are likely to be deported. Dutton added that the expectation is to ensure fake immigrants are deported from the country as quickly as possible.

He explained that Australia has been a generous country when it comes to resettling legitimate refugees. However, the Commonwealth could not afford to continue to support fake immigrants while the country is currently in debt.

The game is up

Dutton pointed out that several illegal immigrants got access to government income support at an estimated cost of $250 million in 2016. "If people think they can rip the Australian taxpayer off, if people think that they can con the Australian taxpayer, then I'm sorry, the game's up," Xinhua quotes Dutton as saying.

The minister assured that the country is prepared to support legal refugees. But he stressed that the Turnbull government is not going to support fake immigrants who are only enjoying welfare and taxpayer benefits but refuse to present information in relation to their protection claim.

He added that the government will not allow more debt to accumulate while paying welfare services for “people who are not genuine.” Until the individual processes are completed, immigrants who cannot provide protection claim information may continue to work and receive Medicare support, and their children will still be permitted to attend school. However, they may no longer get access to income support.

Meanwhile, Key crossbench senator Nick Xenophon, told the ABC that he hoped the government puts as much effort into dealing with jobseekers. For more news in Australia, watch the video from ABC News below.

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