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Australia axes free advice for asylum-seekers

Published on Mar 31, 2014 12:16 PM

SYDNEY (AFP) - Asylum-seekers arriving in Australia on unauthorised boats will no longer be granted free advice on immigration matters, the government said on Monday.

Scrapping the scheme that helped asylum-seekers complete visa applications and gave them advice on complex immigration matters is expected to save A$100 million (S$116 million) over four years.

"From today people who arrived illegally by boat, as well as illegally by air, will no longer receive taxpayer-funded immigration advice and assistance," Immigration Minister Scott Morrison said.

"Australia's protection obligations do not extend to providing free immigration advice and assistance to those who arrived in Australia illegally," he added in a statement.

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