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September 1999, Volume 6, Number 9

Australia/New Zealand

In 1998-99, 35,000 skilled migrants and 32,000 family unification migrants entered Australia. Chinese. Chinese migrants are attempting to enter Australia, Canada and the US by boat. Many Chinese migrants reportedly try to enter Australia by boat after flying to Indonesia, which has a significant Chinese population--922 people on 40 vessels were intercepted in northern Australia in the first seven months of 1999. Most of those seeking illegal passage to Australia fly to Indonesia and obtain an entry visa as they enter. Since Indonesia is sprawled across some of the busiest shipping lanes in the world and has numerous inter-island ferries, freighters and fishing boats, the Chinese can travel throughout the country until they find a boat to take them to Australia.

Smuggling syndicates tell migrants that Australia welcomes illegal migrants because workers are needed to prepare for the 2000 Olympics in Sydney. On August 19, the Australian government with much publicity returned 101 Chinese boat people to Fujian Province; the Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs said that he hoped the large-scale removal would demonstrate to other Chinese that it was pointless to be smuggled to Australia. Australia is seeking the cooperation of the Indonesian government to prevent illegal immigration; an Indonesian fishing boat carrying 140 Iraqis was intercepted, the largest group of illegal immigrants known to have tried to land in Australia.

Some 4,125 foreigners are known to have arrived illegally by boat in Australia between 1989 and August 9, 1999. Of those who arrived, 779 were granted entry as refugees or given bridging visas, 2,661 were removed from Australia and 679 remain in detention.

Turks. There are about 60,000 Turks in Australia. They have asked the government to permit them to sponsor relatives for temporary admission and work after the August 1999 earthquake. The government said it would study the proposal, and announced that the 800 Turks on visitors' visas in Australia could remain another three months; some would be permitted to work.

Students. Australian authorities announced that the National Business Management College in Sydney appeared to be involved in immigrant smuggling. NBMC had requested visas for 600 students from China, India and Pakistan, but only 230 were actually enrolled when the school closed in Summer 1999. Authorities found several illegal fruit pickers with cards issued by the NBMC, and concluded that enrollment in Australian schools is increasingly a way to illegally enter the country.

New Zealand. In June, a boat carrying 102 Chinese immigrants, thought to be headed to New Zealand, resulted in the introduction of emergency legislation to place them in detention camps upon arrival. Instead the boat went to Papua New Guinea.

New Zealand officials are concerned about emigration to Australia. Between August 1, 1998 and July 31, 1999, a net 22,500 New Zealanders migrated to Australia; to all destinations, a net 11,400 more New Zealanders left than entered New Zealand in FY98-99. Some officials have called for increased immigration to keep New Zealand's population, now 3.8 million, from shrinking. The New Zealand immigration target for FY98-99 was 38,000, but only 30,618 immigrants arrived.

Andrew Giarelli, "Renascent Nativism: rise in illegal immigration to Australia and New Zealand," World Press Review, September 1, 1999. Michael McKinnon, "Bring quake victims here 'like Kosovo,' Daily Telegraph, August 26, 1999. "New Zealanders flocking to live in Australia," Deutsche Presse-Agentur, August 20, 1999. "Gov't told of migrants' goal," The Press, August 18, 1999. "Over 100 Chinese boat people removed," M2 Presswire, August 19, 1999. Karen Polglaze, "Indonesia a gateway to Australia for boat people," Australian Associated Press, August 16, 1999. "Largest ever group of illegal immigrants land in Australia," Agence France Presse, August 15, 1999. Damien Murphy, "Colleges linked to people smuggling," Sydney Morning Herald, August 13, 1999.