7 February 2017: Five asylum-seekers from Nepal who were previously held at Australia’s offshore detention centre on Manus Island were paid $20,000 for their voluntary return to Nepal, media reports said today.
They were part of hundreds of asylum-seekers who were given “negative final determination”, that is, they did not qualify as legitimate refugees needing protection from the Australian government.
According to Sydney Morning Herald, the Nepalis returned home last week after accepting an offer of $20,000 against voluntary return to their country of origin while lawyers for others who failed to gain asylum are preparing to move court this week to stop their forced deportation from Papua New Guinea.
“Of the 1015 Refugee Status Initial Assessment Notifications at Manus Island, 510 were positive and 505 were negative as at 31 January 2017. There were 689 refugees who have been given a positive final determination. There were 225 failed asylum seekers who have been given a negative final determination,” the Department of Immigration and Border Protection said in a statement on Monday.
According to Papua New Guinea Post Courier, the PNG Immigration and Citizenship Service Authority is currently in the process of obtaining travel documents of at least 60 non-refugees (mostly Iranian) who are still held at the Manus Island detention centre.
“Non-refugees who do not elect to depart voluntarily will have their departure enforced, consistent with PNG domestic legislation and our international obligations,” Acting Chief Migration Officer Solomon Kantha was quoted as saying.