Labor bid to close asylum loophole
New rules: Australia-bound Iranian asylum seekers stopped in Bali by Indonesian authorities. Picture: AP

The Rudd Government could strip work rights from asylum seekers who have failed appeals for protection as part of a suite of new get-tough measures aimed at repairing Labor's border security credentials.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd is also certain to plead with Indonesia to close a loophole that allows asylum seekers to jet into Jakarta then get on a boat for Australia when he meets with President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono this week.

The West Australian understands Cabinet has mulled a package of instruments it could roll out over coming weeks to send a signal to the region it was taking a harder stance on asylum seekers.

The deliberations come amid a major review of the refugee determination process, with senior ministers concerned that many asylum seekers are being granted refugee status on appeal after having their first claim rejected by the Immigration Department.

One idea being considered is that asylum seekers who have had their claims rejected by both the department and the Refugee Review Tribunal could have work rights removed to encourage them to leave Australia as soon as possible.

Until now the Government has taken work rights only from asylum seekers who arrived before August 13.

There are many asylum seekers coming to Australia from Iran. Many of these new arrivals are not being granted asylum, but Australia cannot return them because it has no agreement with Tehran to do so.

Last week, Foreign Affairs Minister Bob Carr declared the majority of asylum seekers now coming to Australia were "economic migrants" and not genuine refugees.

Senator Carr, who is already in Indonesia ahead of Mr Rudd's trip there tomorrow, is expected to lobby for Indonesia to enforce a visa-before-travel scheme for citizens of countries considered at risk of getting on a boat to seek asylum.

The West Australian

Popular videos

Compare & Save

Our Picks

Compare & Save

Follow Us

More from The West