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UNHCR: Aus world leader in asylum applications

UNHCR: Aus world leader in asylum applications

Figures released by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reveal that Australia has outpaced the world when it comes to asylum seeker applications.

Shadow minister for immigration and citizenship Scott Morrison has expressed his dismay that Australia has seen a 37 per cent increase in applications, while the average global rise is only eight per cent.

Mr Morrison explained that this surge in applications stems from the constant flow of illegal boat arrivals, who are arriving in Australia with no immigration visa or documentation, with many applicants not having their claims processed since a freeze in August last year.

The minister cited the fact that worldwide applications have declined by 20 per cent when compared to 2002, when John Howard implemented the Pacific Solution.

He said: "This is a government that cannot control themselves, let alone our borders and with illegal boat arrivals in 2013 getting off to the fastest start on record, things only seem to be getting worse.

"While Australia experienced a 37 per cent increase in asylum applications in 2012, in Europe there was just a nine per cent increase, with the UK increasing by only six per cent. Applications increased by ten per cent in the United States, while in Canada, the number of applications continued to fall, this time by 19 per cent."

The report also found, the minister continued, that Canada has experienced a 44 per cent drop in asylum seeker applications since 2008, while Australia has seen a 230 per cent rise.

Afghans and Sri Lankans are the two most common groups who apply in Australia, with applications increasing by 75 per cent and 500 per cent respectively last year. This is compared with the global rise of one per cent and 18 per cent for the same groups.

Mr Morrison explained that Australia has seen a higher volume of applications from these two groups than the global figures, which is worrying because Australia is being targeted by people smugglers who are viewing this country as an easy target.

In what has been described as a "mess", Mr Morrison explained that the government's five years in office has only resulted in a greater cost to the taxpayers and greater tragedies through increased deaths at sea.

Mr Morrison said only the Coalition can return the border situation to normalcy, as chaos is currently the mantra of the Gillard government.

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