CANBERRA (Xinhua) – The number of asylum seekers arriving in Australia by plane is on track to reach an all-time high.
The Sydney Morning Herald reported on Tuesday that 80 people claimed asylum every day after arriving at an Australian airport since the start of financial year 2019-20.
If that pace keeps up, more than 29,000 people will apply for asylum after arriving by plane in that financial year.
It would represent an increase from the 8,562 applications from those who fly to Australia in 2014-15, which is also a significant change in people-smuggling operations since the government cracked down on boat arrivals.
More than 50,000 asylum seekers have arrived in Australia by boat under the former Australian Labor Party (ALP) government between 2009 and 2013 but that figure has been reduced under the Liberal-National party (LNP) coalition since 2014.
Kristina Keneally, the ALP’s home affairs spokesperson, accused Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton of being responsible for a refugee exploitation “crisis.”
“There’s nothing wrong with claiming asylum – it’s an important right,” she said.
“However, in 90 percent of these cases, the individuals are not legitimate refugees and are often being trafficked to Australia for the explicit purpose of being exploited.