The Australian immigration authorities have announced its plan on accepting about 1,000 Syrian refugees amid the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Syria. The resettlement of a thousand Syrian refugees is part of the Australian immigration department’s decision to increase the annual immigrant intake quota to 20,000. These announcements came as the Australian government sent its first installment of asylum seekers to Nauru for offshore processing, raising many concerns among critics as to the conditions and behavior that the refugees will be facing over there.
Australian immigration minister, Chris Bowen, stated that his department is making preparations to accept and resettle 1,000 Syrian refugees. The immigration minister, during the question time, told the Lower House of parliament that although the initiative was part of the plan to increase the per annum immigrant intake, the motive behind it was to accommodate those people who have suffered a lot at the hands of extremists during the humanitarian crisis that their country is going through.
Bowen said that the whole world is witness to what has been happening in Syria and how hundreds of thousands of families have been displaced from their homes. He said that such situations require immediate measures.
“Proximity cannot be determined,” the immigration minister said, “of our obligation to help people in desperate circumstances.”
The immigration minister further said that, with thousands fleeing the country daily, in the coming months more than 600,000 Syrian refugees are expected to leave their homes seeking asylum in other countries.
While elaborating on the criteria of selecting a thousand refugees from such large numbers, the minister said that the department will prefer those cases that have family links in Australia. Bowen said that most of the families fleeing Syria were already living in that country as refugees, mostly from Iraq. He said that the figure will include refugees both from Syrian origins and from Iraqi origins and no discrimination will be made.
“For those for whom Arab spring has turned to winter,” Bowen stated, “have a friend and a supporter in Australia.”
It will not be unfair to state that the Australian immigration department is going through a phase of extensive transition which, to many, is quite unexpected. It all depends on the outcome of the plans that the government has announced, which will determine the fate of the reputation that the current government leaves behind it. Through the evolving immigration system of the country, the government can avail benefit as well as suffer loss, with respect to its achievements.