Time’s up for illegal immigrants living in the North


Illegal immigrants living in the North, who are benefitting from generous income support, have until October 1 to prove their case for remaining in the country as a genuine refugee. 

 Northern based Government Senator has welcomed the deadline set for the thousands of Illegal Maritime Arrivals (IMAs) who flooded into the country Australia during the previous Labor Government.

 They must lodge applications for processing by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) by October 1.

Senator Macdonald said there are 7500 IMAs who came to Australia during the Labor years who had failed or refused to present their case for asylum.

“Some of these people have been here for more than five years, but have still not made their case for protection,” Senator Macdonald said.

Many are residing in Australia on government funded support which last year cost the Australian taxpayer approximately $250 million in income support alone.

Senator Macdonald said the Coalition is determined to clean up the illegal immigration mess created in five chaotic years of Labor Government and ease the ongoing burden on Australian taxpayers that Labor’s failed open-border policies has imposed for years to come.

The October 1 deadline is non-negotiable.

Any IMA who has not lodged an application to have their claim for asylum assessed by the DIBP by that date will be deemed to have forfeited any claim to protection.

They will be subject to removal from Australia, prohibited from applying for any Australian visa, cut from government income support and banned from re-entering Australia.

They will be issued a short term visa while departure or removal is organised. It will provide minimal rights - to work, Medicare and education for children as required by Australia’s international obligations.

Some 17,000 IMAs are currently supported by DIBP’s Status Resolution Support Services (SRSS) at an annual cost of approximately half a billion dollars.

Since Labor threw open Australia's borders to people smugglers allowing them to send 50,000 IMAs on more than 800 boats to Australia over five years, the cost to the Australian taxpayer of processing and then supporting these people has topped more than $13.7 billion.

Australians have every right to question why an estimated 80%+ of IMAs arrived without any identity documents.

“Particularly because, as was explained in Senate Estimates this week, many journeyed to Indonesia to get on a leaky boat to Australia after flying to Indonesia or Malaysia, and they would have had identity papers for those flights,” Senator Macdonald said.

In such circumstances processing their claims for protection has proven challenging and complex. The Coalition has expedited this process as much as possible.

The October cut-off for lodgement of protection claims will ensure that Australian taxpayers are not providing financial support to people who have no right to be in Australia.


IMA Statistics

  • 50,000 Illegal Maritime Arrivals landed in Australia under Labor between 2008 and 2013
  • Labor processed 20,000 of these people
  • It stopped processing IMAs in August 2012
  • That left 30,500 people yet to be processed – this is known as the Legacy Caseload
  • 23,000 of the Legacy Caseload have applied for TPVs or SHEVs
  • Of those 6500 have been granted a TPV or SHEV
  • 3000 have already been found not to be refugees and must leave Australia
  • 13,000 are having their claims assessed
  • Around 7500 remain outside the process and have not presented their case for protection
  • It is this 7500 that are caught by the October deadline
  • There are currently 17,500 IMAs who receive SRSS support
  • In 2015-16 support for IMAs cost the Australian taxpayer just approximately $1.9 billion
  • Since 2007-08 the total cost to Australians of Labor’s failed open-border policy failure is $13.7 billion
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