Australian Immigration Minister in town

Friday, 3 May 2013 03:14 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Australia’s Minister for Immigration and Citizenship Brendan O’Connor will be in Colombo on a three-day visit.

The visit comes as part of the Australian Government’s continuing commitment to deepening Australia’s relationship with Sri Lanka, the Minister’s office said.

The minister will be accompanied by Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) secretary Martin Bowles, who co-chaired the inaugural meeting of the Sri Lanka-Australia Joint Working Group on People Smuggling and Transnational Crime in December last year.

During his visit, O’Connor will meet with senior government ministers and agency officials to discuss ongoing cooperation in enhancing migration management.

According to his office, the minister will also seek to strengthen ongoing cooperation with Sri Lanka on the shared challenges of irregular migration and people smuggling.

“The visit would highlight Australia’s keen interest in continuing to work closely with Sri Lanka on issues discussed at the recent Bali Process meeting,” O’Connor said.

“Sri Lanka is an important regional partner, and I hope my visit will work to reinforce our already strong working relationship on a range of migration issues,” he added.

He said, of the many issues that will be discussed, he particularly wants to convey Australia’s appreciation for Sri Lanka’s continued cooperation in the return of Sri Lankan nationals who are found not to be owed protection in Australia.

The minister will also be briefed on the status of the Gillard Government-funded Displaced Persons Program (DPP) projects that are designed to support people’s livelihoods and future prospects in Sri Lanka.

The Australian government funds a range of activities to assist Sri Lanka to improve border management practices.