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article imageOp-Ed: Chinese asylum claims in Australia up 311% this year

By Paul Wallis     Dec 9, 2018 in World
Sydney - Australia’s position on refuges arriving by boat is well known. The position on claiming political asylum is a lot less clear. 27,931 Chinese citizens claimed asylum last year, and things are getting tricky.
Adding even less clarity to the asylum claims picture, according to the Department of Home Affairs, only 10% of claimants are successful. Claimants include Christians, children born out of wedlock, lesbians, gays, and a range of other less easily defined claimants.
Background - Immigration, scams and ripoffs, the basics
Immigration and refugee status are very contentious issues in Australia. Australia’s cynicism and political furore about refugees arriving by boat is well known. The cynicism about immigrants and refugees in general, however, is driven by a less well-known factor. What’s seen as an Immigration racket, including some very unscrupulous operators at times, is the main reason.
The cynicism is based on some downright appalling practical issues. Australians are well aware that many would-be new arrivals are getting a very raw deal indeed. Student visas are the best example. Some trusting foreign students are literally hung out to dry. They’re spending money on student visas to get hideously underpaid student jobs, accommodation which is extremely substandard, and they’re “helped” in to these very ugly, unwinnable situations by scam artists exploiting our booming education sector.
Consider this: Australia currently has about 650,000 international students. About 200,000 of those are Chinese. Education is a huge sector in Australia, worth tens of billions per year. Like education systems around the world, “farming” foreign students is the norm.
It’s a cash cow, and most Aussies aren’t impressed with the way things are done. Some examples are bordering on fraudulent. One student somehow got through the first year of her degree and couldn’t speak English at all, let alone communicate with her lecturers. The girl was terrified, and had obviously had no support from anyone beyond selling her a plane trip to Australia and a totally non-viable status as a student.
These kids are arriving in Australia with almost no language skills, dismal job prospects, etc. They’re in the news literally every other week for being ripped off for wages, accommodation, etc. They’re also given totally unrealistic hopes for their studies and, of course, their chances of “escaping” to Australia.
Refugee or asylum status? Don’t bet on it
Asylum seekers are in much the same boat, excuse the expression. The exact distinction between arriving by barely seaworthy boat courtesy of people smugglers and arriving by barely credible bureaucratic BS needs to be explained. Arriving by boat is illegal entry. Arriving in an equally unseaworthy vessel of student or other visas is legal, but equally doomed to failure.
You can get in to the country legally for a while, but your chances of staying are minimal at best. Add to this the fact that Australia detains people for overstaying their visas just like boat arrivals, and it’s a virtually identical situation.
The theory, and it is just a theory, is that to get in to Australia you apply for a protection visa, which allows you to get a “bridging” visa while your claim is determined. This bridging visa isn’t any sort of guarantee of getting a protection visa, or being allowed to stay. If your application is disallowed, you can appeal, and stay a bit longer. Odds are you’ll fail, and spend a lot of time and money failing.
You can see where the immigration racket might be doing very well out of this situation. If 10% is the usual success rate, an even lower success rate for appeals, 5%, is the fact. Meanwhile, the fiction is spread around Asia that this is how you get to Australia, and the instant financial and legal minefield isn’t mentioned at all.
Put it this way – It’s a great way to waste tens of thousands of dollars, get nowhere, and get deported. The brutal fact is that a lot of very poor people are getting themselves in to a lot of trouble, borrowing money in their home countries to come to Australia and get in to more trouble here.
The information provided by the Department of Home Affairs seems to be at the “muttering” stage. Much talk, but no indications of policy shifts. That’s partly because refugee claims of this type have to be done in a certain way. There’s no room to move for the government; things must be processed according to law.
Want to come to Australia? A safer way
As a very unimpressed Aussie, I’d like to give would-be immigrants a few basic tips:
1. Get your facts about migrating to Australia straight. There is a fair bit of paperwork, and it can be confusing. The local Australian embassy or consulate will be happy to help and clarify any issues for you.
2. Do NOT spend a cent, until you’re absolutely clear about your legal options for migrating to Australia. You shouldn’t need to spend much more than your plane fares and some relatively minor processing fees for immigration documentation.
3. Do NOT get in to debt to come here. You could be in big trouble from day one. I met a Chinese illegal immigrant being paid the princely sum of 80 cents an hour on a manual labour job, with no chance whatsoever of repaying a bucket of fried chips, never mind a loan. Chinese people around the world will have a pretty good idea how he got in to this situation and who “helped” him get in to it.
4. AVOID any kind of criminal involvement. Any suggestion of a criminal role in your coming to Australia makes it an absolute certainty you’ll be deported, sooner or later. Stay away from those bastards, and your chances of successfully entering Australia and staying are infinitely better.
5. FORGET fake IDs, passports, etc. Modern tech makes these things a lot easier to check. For example, the Chinese government knows exactly which IDs and passports were issued, to whom, when, etc. and can cross check very easily. Even having a fake ID can get you in to a lot of serious trouble at home, and will also guarantee your entry to Australia will be terminated.
6. Sponsored migration is a good, and much safer, way of coming to Australia legally and far more cheaply. Employers and other community members can help you with this type of migration in a pretty wide range of cases.
7. Local communities can usually help you dodge the scam artists, both in Australia and in your home country. Be aware, however, that not everyone is a saint. Find out exactly who was helped to come to Australia legally, before spending any money, and get that information confirmed. (Your friends could check it out for you.)
Well, I hope that helps. The situations with asylum claimants are many and complex. It doesn’t look like there are any easy answers or policy fixes to make actually getting asylum any easier. The big question is why so many from China, all of a sudden? Don’t hold your breath expecting any clear answers.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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