Forty – one (41) illegal immigrants held by Australian Border Force deported back to Sri Lanka

The Australian Border Force on 02nd May 2023 held 41 Sri Lankan nationals at the Australia’s maritime border, while they were attempting to illegally migrate to Australia via sea. A special flight, carrying the group of 41 Sri Lankans deported by Australian authorities, arrived at the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) on 09th May 2023.

The Sri Lankan Navy, partnering with other stakeholders who use the Indian Ocean Region, conducts regular patrols and operations to prevent human smuggling to foreign countries via sea routes.

Reportedly, the group of illegal immigrants set off the sea voyage from Valaichchenai, Batticaloa on 10th April 2023 by a multiday fishing trawler and had been held by Australian Border Force on 02nd May. The apprehended individuals are residents of Colombo, Valaichchenai, Batticaloa, Ottamawadi, and Kalawanchikudi areas. The group of deportees consists of 34 males and 03 females as well as 04 individuals below 18 years of age. Onward investigation into the incident will be conducted by the Department of Immigration and Emigration.

Including this group of people, deported back to Sri Lanka on 09th May, a total of 43 illegal immigrants were returned to Sri Lanka by Australian authorities in 2023. In the same vein, 1314 persons who attempted to cross the maritime borders of Australia from 2012 to 2022 had been deported, upon being held by Australian authorities.

As the Sri Lanka Navy and the Sri Lanka Coast Guard make a valiant effort to thwart illegal immigration to Australia by boats, in close coordination with the Australian Border Force, there is no room for illegal migration to Australia by sea. Therefore, the Navy urges people not to involve in such sea voyages, and be victims of people smugglers.