31 Dec 2012

More Sri Lankans opt for home over Nauru

8:16 am on 31 December 2012

Another 30 Sri Lankans have made the return trip home rather than spend time on Nauru processing their asylum claims.

AAP reports four others also made the trip back last week instead of heading to Nauru for the processing of their claims.

"They chose not to pursue their asylum claims and no longer seek to engage Australian protection obligations," said a spokesman for the Department of Immigration & Citizenship.

Nine Sri Lankan men left Nauru early on Sunday morning, travelling on a charter flight from Perth with 21 others who were detained in Western Australia.

"These men departed voluntarily," the spokesman said.

AAP reports a total of 883 Sri Lankans have returned home both voluntarily and involuntarily since 13 August, when the federal government announced that asylum seekers would be liable for transfer to regional processing facilities.

The first group to be sent for offshore processing were transferred from Christmas Island to Nauru on 14 September.

More arrivals

Meanwhile, another boat carrying 37 asylum seekers has been intercepted in Australian waters.

The crew of the vessel contacted the Australian Maritime Safety Authority Rescue Coordination Centre on Saturday afternoon asking for assistance.

The boat was later intercepted by HMAS Larrakia.

AAP reports the 37 passengers and three crew were to be transferred to Christmas Island for initial security, health and identity checks.