Those Feisty Iranians

Amongst our asylum seeker population Iranians feature very prominently. And it is not just because of Reza Barati, an Iranian asylum-seeker who was murdered at Manus Island on our watch.

A feature of the Iranian asylum seekers, apart from their number, is that they have a reputation of being quite “pushy”. As past and current Immigration officers tell me ‘they are always in our face’. I am afraid that this view of Iranians does not help in the way they are treated. But the same qualities make them good settlers – determined and highly motivated. I wish more of our migrants were like that.

The number of Iranian asylum seekers in Australia stands out. If we look at the figures before the Manus/Nauru ‘solution’ and Operation Sovereign Borders, we see that in the June quarter 2012, Iranian asylum seekers represented only about 10% of boat arrivals. Within a year they had risen to about 40% of boat arrivals. The actual numbers told the same story – up from 352 in June quarter 2012 to an estimated 3,600 in the June quarter 2013. Later data is not available.

After appeal processes, over 80% of Iranians are usually found to be genuine refugees.

There are still a lot of Iranians in detention. At the end of May this year, there were 4,016 people in Immigration Detention Facilities. 27% were from Iran, almost double the percentage for the second largest group, Vietnamese at 15%. Of the 1,081 Iranians in Immigration Detention Facilities, 255 were children. In addition to those in Immigration Detention Facilities, at the end of May this year there were another 2,955 people in the community under Residence Determination. The largest group again were Iranians with 841, or 28%.

In addition to the large number of Iranian asylum seekers arriving, there is another reason why many remain in detention. In many cases the Iranian government will not accept returnees to Iran that have claimed refugee status in another country,been refused and are subject to deportation.

There is obviously great pressure on Iranians to leave their country and for a variety of reasons. As I pointed out in my blog of July 28 last year

The population of Iran is increasing very rapidly. It has been referred to as a population time-bomb. The population is young (with over 60% of the population under 30). The middle class is also growing rapidly. It is well-educated. Iranians have a lot of “get up and go”. My observation is that they make very good migrants. They are determined people and perhaps for that reason they get up the nose of Immigration officials.

They are also repressed by the mullahs but probably more importantly the sanctions imposed by the West are biting hard. Not surprisingly with population and economic pressures at home, they want to leave Iran. It must be possible to open a different migration pathway for eligible Iranians through some type of skilled migration program, perhaps a 457 visa or sponsored migration. Surely we have Australian companies that would be supportive. Iran is an important market for Australian wheat.’

Unfortunately the migration application process is difficult and lengthy in Iran and elsewhere. As a result Iranians often decide to risk all and flee and hope that countries such as Australia will give them a new chance in life.

In the last decade Australia has received almost 1.5 million migrants because of their skills, family connections or other special eligibility.

We would be doing ourselves a service as well as helping young well-educated and entrepreneurial Iranians if we opened more migration opportunities for them and discourage them from making hazardous and dangerous voyages.

Former and current Immigration officials do express quite different views about Iranian asylum seekers. The first is that they are demanding. The second is that ‘they won’t cop any shit’.  I must confess that I admire those qualities in people-being prepared to push back.

Many Iranians would make excellent settlers in this country, even if they do not meet our refugee criteria. We need to consider alternate migration pathways for young people in Iran who are under pressure.

Amongst our asylum seeker population Iranians feature very prominently. And it is not just because of Reza Barati, an Iranian asylum-seeker who was murdered at Manus Island on our watch.

A feature of the Iranian asylum seekers, apart from their number, is that they have a reputation of being quite “pushy”. As past and current Immigration officers tell me ‘they are always in our face’. I am afraid that this view of Iranians does not help in the way they are treated. But the same qualities make them good settlers – determined and highly motivated. I wish more of our migrants were like that.

The number of Iranian asylum seekers in Australia stands out. If we look at the figures before the Manus/Nauru ‘solution’ and Operation Sovereign Borders, we see that in the June quarter 2012, Iranian asylum seekers represented only about 10% of boat arrivals. Within a year they had risen to about 40% of boat arrivals. The actual numbers told the same story – up from 352 in June quarter 2012 to an estimated 3,600 in the June quarter 2013. Later data is not available.

After appeal processes, over 80% of Iranians are usually found to be genuine refugees.

There are still a lot of Iranians in detention. At the end of May this year, there were 4,016 people in Immigration Detention Facilities. 27% were from Iran, almost double the percentage for the second largest group, Vietnamese at 15%. Of the 1,081 Iranians in Immigration Detention Facilities, 255 were children. In addition to those in Immigration Detention Facilities, at the end of May this year there were another 2,955 people in the community under Residence Determination. The largest group again were Iranians with 841, or 28%.

In addition to the large number of Iranian asylum seekers arriving, there is another reason why many remain in detention. In many cases the Iranian government will not accept returnees to Iran that have claimed refugee status in another country.

There is obviously great pressure on Iranians to leave their country and for a variety of reasons. As I pointed out in my blog of July 28 last year

The population of Iran is increasing very rapidly. It has been referred to as a population time-bomb. The population is young (with over 60% of the population under 30). The middle class is also growing rapidly. It is well-educated. Iranians have a lot of “get up and go”. My observation is that they make very good migrants. They are determined people and perhaps for that reason they get up the nose of Immigration officials.

They are also repressed by the mullahs but probably more importantly the sanctions imposed by the West are biting hard. Not surprisingly with population and economic pressures at home, they want to leave Iran. It must be possible to open a different migration pathway for eligible Iranians through some type of skilled migration program, perhaps a 457 visa or sponsored migration. Surely we have Australian companies that would be supportive. Iran is an important market for Australian wheat.’

Unfortunately the migration application process is difficult and lengthy in Iran and elsewhere. As a result Iranians often decide to risk all and flee and hope that countries such as Australia will give them a new chance in life.

In the last decade Australia has received almost 1.5 million migrants because of their skills, family connections or other special eligibility.

We would be doing ourselves a service as well as helping young well-educated and entrepreneurial Iranians if we opened more migration opportunities for them and discourage them from making hazardous and dangerous voyages.

Former and current Immigration officials do express quite different views about Iranian asylum seekers. The first is that they are demanding. The second is that ‘they won’t cop any shit’.  I must confess that I admire those qualities in people-being prepared to push back.

Many Iranians would make excellent settlers in this country, even if they do not meet our refugee criteria. We need to consider alternate migration pathways for young people in Iran who are under pressure.

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One Response to Those Feisty Iranians

  1. Nadia says:

    “The population of Iran is increasing very rapidly” ? No Iran’s population growth rate is declining. Iran has reduced its population growth from the world’s highest of nearly 4 percent a year to just over 1 percent. It was only a short time after Iran-Iraq war that Khomeini advocated large families. At that time the population growth hit 4.4 percent in the early 1980s. But then again it declined. The population growth rate was cut in half from 1987 to 1994, putting Iran in the same category as Japan and China—the only other two countries that have succeeded in halving their population growth rates in such a short period of time. In 2004, Iran’s population was growing only modestly faster than that of the United States.

    (Source : Outgrowing the Earth The Food Security Challenge in an Age of Falling Water Tables and Rising Temperatures by Laster R.Brown)

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