30 Oct 2003

Australia completes processing of asylum seekers on Nauru

7:24 pm on 30 October 2003

Australia has confirmed that the processing of asylum-seekers on Nauru is now complete, but 314 people remain in the detention centres on the island.

310 of these have been denied refugee status and will be repatriated.

An Immigration Department spokesman, Jeff Lamb, says since Australia began using Nauru and Manus Island in Papua New Guinea two years ago to process asylum seekers, a total of 767 have been granted refugee status.

Of these Australia has taken 379, New Zealand 352 with the remaining 30 going to Canada, Sweden or Norway.

He says those not assessed to be refugees are asked to return home.

"Asylum seekers found not to be owed protection are expected to depart Nauru for their country of origin or an alternative destination, as circumstances permit...asylum seekers who choose voluntarily to return, do so under the auspices of the International Organisation for Migration...the IOM arranges all travel documents and clothing and financial assistance is available to facilitate their repatriation"