IMMIGRATION Minister Scott Morrison has thrown down the gauntlet to Labor and the Greens by using his powers to cap the number of permanent protection visas for asylum seekers who arrive in Australia by boat.

 اسکات موریسون: دارندگان ویزای موقت نمیتوانند تا 7 ماه آینده درخواست پناهندگی بدهند!
The 1650 cap matches the number of visas already approved this financial year.

The decision means no new visas will be issued to onshore asylum seekers before July 2014.

As well, none of the 20,000 asylum seekers, who are on bridging visas and living in the community without work rights, will be able to apply for permanent protection.

"The government today has shut Labor's protection visa shop ... the door has been sealed shut," Mr Morrison told reporters in Canberra on Thursday.

The cap would remain in place until Labor and the Greens reversed their opposition to the reintroduction of temporary protection visas (TPVs), he said.

The two parties ganged up on the government this week to disallow TPVs which Mr Morrison introduced by regulation after the September election.

The minister's latest move is by way of a non-disallowable instrument which means it can't be struck down by the Senate.

The cap will not apply to the government's offshore refugee and humanitarian program, such as the 500 visas allocated for people fleeing the bloody civil war in Syria.

The decision was condemned by the Australian Greens and refugee advocacy groups.

Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young described Mr Morrison as the "minister for cruelty".

He was "thumping his chest to show how brutal he's prepared to be. Taking out his thuggery on refugees".

The Refugee Council of Australia said the move represented a new low.

"Australians should be ashamed that a government has inflicted more punishment and cruelty on people fleeing persecution and torture, to teach a lesson to the ALP and the Greens," president Phil Glendenning said.

Mr Morrison signalled the government would be announcing other new measures.

But pulling out of the UN refugee convention had never been "under active consideration".
Video link: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-12-04/scott-morrison-caps-offshore-protection-visa-numbers/5134200


Asylum seeker debate hits 'new low'

The Federal Government and the Opposition are both facing mounting criticism over the latest round of measures to curb the number of asylum seekers coming to Australia by boat.
The UN's Refugee Agency is calling for legal principles and compassion to be returned to the debate, while churches, human rights groups and lawyers have slammed both sides of politics, saying the treatment of asylum seekers and policy debate have fallen to a new low.
The Government and Opposition have also been criticised for the way in which they have dealt with recommendations from an expert panel on asylum seekers.
Earlier this week, the Federal Government announced it would release thousands of asylum seekers into the community on bridging visas, but they would not be allowed to work or have access to family reunions.
Meanwhile, the Opposition announced that a future Coalition government would slash Australia's refugee intake and force those on bridging visas to work for welfare benefits.
The UN's Refugee Agency says it is deeply troubled by the shift towards policies of deterrence - and they are not alone.
Refugee Council of Australia president Phil Glendenning is calling it the "race to the bottom" on asylum policy.
"The Pacific Solution mark two, which is effectively very similar to the Pacific Solution mark one, has clearly not worked," he said.
"It's not working - it hasn't stopped the boats, it hasn't stopped people coming.
"Our politicians need to get their heads around... [working] with our neighbours to enable those countries to provide rights for people to access work, education and health whilst they wait for their refugee status to be determined."

Australia flies first asylum seekers to Nauru camp

Thirty asylum seekers have been flown from Christmas Island to Nauru, as Australia begins to implement its new offshore processing policy.
The Sri Lankan men arrived in the tiny Pacific nation early on Friday.
They will remain there until their claims for asylum have been processed and will be joined by more people as the camp is expanded.
Australia re-introduced offshore processing last month, after ending the practice in 2008.
Immigration Minister Chris Bowen said more transfers from Christmas Island - the closest part of Australian territory to Indonesia and home to a large detention centre - would follow.
He said that people-smugglers in the last few weeks had been "peddling lies", saying that "the Nauru processing centre wouldn't be established or that they could provide guarantees that people wouldn't be transferred there".
"The message is very clear: if you arrive in Australia by boat you can be taken from Australia by aeroplane and processed in another country," he said.


Suspended asylum applications puts pressure on Indonesia

The Indonesian Ambassador to Australia says Australia's stance against Afghani and Sri Lankan asylum seekers is likely to put more pressure on Indonesia.

The Federal Government is suspending the processing of all new applications for protection by people from Sri Lanka and Afghanistan.

The Ambassador, Primo Alui Joelianto, says Indonesia is likely feel the impact.
It means they have to transit in one place and unfortunately the place is Indonesia so to some extent of course we will feel the difficulty in having them in our territory," he said.

The Federal Opposition says the arrival of three asylum seeker boats shows that suspending refugee applications for Sri Lankans and Afghanis has not worked.

A boat carrying 27 people was intercepted off the Kimberley Coast this morning.
It is the third to be caught since the Government's announcement on Friday that some asylum applications will not be processed for up to six months.

The Coalition's spokesman, Michael Keenan, says it shows the Government's approach is not working.
"I think the people smugglers actions speak much louder than Kevin Rudd's words," he said.
"This third arrival since the Government's announcement on Friday also brings up another grim milestone for the Government which is over 5,000 illegal arrivals since they weakened Australia's border protection laws in August of 2008.

"It's actually the Australian Government that controls the flow of immigration into Australia," he said.
"At the moment that's not the case. And we do think the Government should take action but I don't think this action will necessarily make much difference.

"It's more about pretending to be tough." But the Prime Minister has defended the Government's approach.

"Our policy is very clear cut - our obligations are to deal with genuine asylum seekers and those who are not genuine asylum seekers to send them back to their countries of origin. That is the Governmnent's consistent position," Mr Rudd said.

Smith backs suspensions
Foreign Affairs Minister Stephen Smith has defended returning asylum seekers to Afghanistan even though the Government's advice is that it is unsafe for Australians to go there.

The Government argues it is becoming safer in Sri Lanka and Afghanistan and more likely applicants will be sent back because their asylum claims will be refused. But it advises Australians not to travel to Afghanistan.

Mr Smith has told Channel Nine the refugee decision is made on a different basis.
"It's a qualititatively different question about the straightforward security of a country," he said.

"It is not applicable or appropriate to try and align advice that we give to the Australian travelling public about particular countries and whether you or don't qualify to be a refugee under the convention."

Immigration Minister Chris Evans says the Government is acting in the nation's best interests in deciding to suspend refugee applications from Sri Lanka for three months and Afghanistan for six months.

Senator Evans says 400 additional beds will be set up at Christmas Island in the coming weeks to cope with extra occupants expected as a result of the Government's decision. He says the Darwin Immigration Centre is also an option to house the asylum seekers.