Australia to screen migrants for ‘radicalisation risks’: Leaked document

Canberra, Feb 5 (IANS) Migrants coming to Australia from the war-torn Middle-East could be subject to stronger background and character checks, in a move designed to minimise the risk of “extremist infiltration”, Xinhua reported.

A leaked document, obtained by local media on Friday, showed that Australia’s Immigration Department had prepared a swathe of new measures to “mitigate radicalisation risks” when thousands of humanitarian arrivals make their way to Australia from Iraq and Syria.

Australia previously announced it would be taking in 13,750 migrants by 2017, upping that intake to 18,750 by the end of 2019.

However, the document has warned of the potential risks of bringing in migrants from areas where extremism is deeply rooted, and said that some refugees will “bring with them issues, beliefs or associations that lead them to advocate or engage in politically motivated or communal violence”.

The document, labelled “protected,” “sensitive” and “Cabinet,” was obtained through the Immigration Department, but Immigration Minister Peter Dutton told Fairfax Media that he had never seen it.

“Government departments produce draft documents for consideration all the time. This is a draft document which has not been seen by the minister or his staff – nothing more,” Dutton said through a spokesperson on Friday.

The paper also said Australia would possibly be enacting stricter intake conditions due to the “established links between recent onshore terrorist attacks and the humanitarian intake.”

Recommendations in the paper include settling the new arrivals in rural towns, as smaller areas might “provide employment opportunities and display a level of community cohesion that may reduce the potential for future radicalisation.”

It is expected the document will be presented to the Cabinet’s National Security Committee for consideration.

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