Canberra, May 18 (IANS) Australian authorities will repatriate asylum-seekers who are found not to be refugees in the Manus Island detention centre this year, Immigration Minister Peter Dutton confirmed on Thursday.
“There will be some who’ve been found not be refugees…They are economic migrants essentially, not refugees by any stretch of the imagination, they have to go back home. They have to go back to their country of origin,” The Australian daily quoted Dutton as saying.
Papua New Guinea and Australian governments are preparing to close the Manus Island detention centre that houses about 2,000 by October 31, with the decommissioning of parts of the facility to begin within weeks.
Of the 2,000 people who remain on the island, 850 are men, but only 400 of those are deemed to be legitimate refugees.
Dutton added that Foreign Minister Julie Bishop’s upcoming trip to the US where she will meet Washington’s UN Representative Nikki Haley would help the smooth passage of the deal.