Australia warns Sri Lankans

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The Australian High Commission in Colombo has warned Sri Lankans not to be fooled by false advertising through social media or by people smugglers that it is possible to get to Australia illegally by boat.

Australia remains committed to protecting its borders, stamping out people smuggling, and preventing people from risking their lives at sea, the mission said in a statement.

The Australian High Commission said it is aware of rumours circulating on social media in Sri Lanka that it is possible to get to Australia illegally by boat.

Australian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka Bryce Hutchesson warns Sri Lankans not to be fooled by false advertising through social media or by people smugglers, it said.

“Australia’s borders are closed to illegal migration. The tough border protection policies that have secured Australia’s borders against the threat of  people smuggling and prevented people from dying at sea remain in place.”

“Australia maintains a robust operational capability to detect and respond to any people smuggling boat to ensure that no illegal maritime venture makes it to Australia. If you attempt to come illegally by boat, you will be caught.”

“Every Sri Lankan people smuggling boat that has entered Australian waters in the past four years has been  stopped, and all those  on board returned to Sri Lanka,” High Commissioner Hutchesson said.

Australia said it continues  to  work  closely with regional partners, including Sri  Lanka, to identify and disrupt people smuggling ventures before they even get on the water.

In the past five years, international authorities, with  the assistance  of  Australia, have disrupted  78  people  smuggling  ventures, preventing 2525 people from travelling illegally by boat and leading to more than 614 arrests.

“By  working  together  with  our  regional  partners,  we  are  shutting  down  people smuggling  syndicates  operating  in  our  region  and  preventing  people  from  getting  on dangerous and pointless boat ventures,” High Commissioner Hutchesson said.

Since the implementation of Australia’s toughest ever border protection measures  in 2013, Australia has returned 827 people from 34 people smuggling ventures to their country of origin or departure, including 166 Sri Lankans.

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