Australia warns Lebanese not to come by boat


asylum seeker boatAustralian Immigration Minister Scott Morrison says Lebanese people using the Syrian conflict as a cover to come to Australia will be rejected.

There are reports people smugglers are offering fake Syrian passports in Lebanon to encourage economic migrants to come to Australia.

Mr Morrison says Australia will accept Syrian refugees through official channels but economic migrants will be rejected.

He is stressing that no one should try to come by boat.

“Australia is going to do its bit in terms of what’s happening in Syria,” he told Macquarie Radio.

“And there’s meetings going on in Europe at the moment about how we’re going to support the UNHCR in providing places under our humanitarian program, to take those who are genuine refugees in Syria.

“But no-one should take from that there will be any sympathy for anyone who comes on a boat.

“They will face the same process as everyone else – you’re off to Nauru and Manus and you’re not coming to Australia.”

Acting Labor leader Chris Bowen agreed, saying that as minister for immigration he increased the quota for people affected by the Syrian crisis and nobody should come here by boat.

Mr Morrison said economic migrants using the conflict as a cover to come to Australia would be an insult to Syrian refugees, as well as Lebanese Australians who migrated legally.