Australian Embassy

MR121101 Australian government and Nghe An province strengthen cooperation in people smuggling prevention

Australian government and Nghe An province strengthen cooperation in people smuggling prevention

Australian Ambassador Hugh Borrowman will visit Nghe An province today to reinforce the collaboration between the Australian government and the province in the fight against people smuggling.

In his meetings with Mr Ho Duc Phoc, Chairman of Nghe An People’s Committee and senior provincial Border Guards and Public Security officials, the Ambassador is expected to provide an update on Australia’s new policy on dealing with illegal immigration and call for further cooperation of the province to combat people smuggling.

Since 2009, eleven boats have been organised by Vietnamese people smugglers to sail directly or via Indonesia to Australia, carrying almost 270 people. Two of these were intercepted and were unsuccessful in reaching their destination. Most of the passengers on these boats have been from Nghe An province.

Victims/passengers of this illegal and extremely dangerous trade are often seduced by unscrupulous people smugglers with false promises of quick and easy migration and access to highly paid employment in Australia. While the passengers pay many thousands of dollars to people smugglers, they risk their lives during a very dangerous boat transit to Australia. Australia returns many people arriving illegally in this way, with passengers held in compulsory immigration detention while they await processing.

Australia’s new policy to manage the large number of people arriving irregularly by boat includes new arrangements under which any refugee claims that they raise may be assessed in Nauru and Papua New Guinea, and not by Australia. Almost 400 people have already been transferred to Nauru under this policy.

"There is no advantage in people risking lives and fortunes to reach Australia in this way," said Ambassador Borrowman.

“The new policy means that anyone who attempts to travel by people smuggling boat to Australia is most likely to be returned to Vietnam before setting foot in Australia, having lost all of what they paid, and with a police record for departing Vietnam without a passport or visa.”

The Australian Government highly appreciates Vietnam's proactive response to prosecute people smugglers in Vietnam, particularly the imprisonment of seven people smugglers in June this year, and the arrest of another three shortly afterwards in Ba Ria-Vung Tau province.

Australian agencies work closely with the Ministry of Public Security to prevent people smuggling and prosecute the perpetrators. Australia continues to provide specialised training and equipment to Vietnamese police and border officials across the country. This includes proposed training to take place in Nghe An province later this year.

For further information, please contact Ms Pham Thi Thu Ha, Australian Federal Police Office, Australian Embassy in Hanoi (Tel: 04 3774 0204, Mobile: 0912 022 558, Email: [email protected]).