Australian gov't to provide faster processing for asylum seekers

09:57, January 07, 2011      

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Australian Federal Government on Friday said it will speed up its process to determine if asylum seekers have a valid claim for refugee status.

The changes came after a High Court judgment earlier found some asylum seekers who arrived by boat were not treated with procedural fairness.

According to Immigration Minister Chris Bowen, the changes will make the initial assessment of claims faster and give asylum seekers more opportunity to respond to negative information.

"Assessment procedures for refugee claims from irregular maritime arrivals will be changed to allow an earlier decision on whether someone needs Australia's protection," he told ABC News on Friday.

Meanwhile, Bowen said asylum seekers in offshore detention whose claims are rejected will now be able to appeal in the full range of Australian courts.

Appeals will first be considered in the Federal Magistrates Court, then the Federal Court and finally, applicants will be able to seek special leave to appeal to the High Court of Australia.

Bowen said two new federal magistrates would be appointed to deal with the expected increase in the number of court challenges from asylum seekers, at a cost of 800,000 U.S. dollars.

Source: Xinhua

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