Australia's Asylum Seeker Code of Behaviour

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Asylum Insight, 2019
Issue Date:
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In December 2013 the Australian government introduced a code of behaviour for all asylum seekers released from mandatory, indefinite detention and living in the Australian community. The Code of Behaviour for Subclass 050 Bridging (General) visa holders (‘the Code’), now in operation for over five years, applies to all so-called ‘illegal maritime arrivals’ who apply for or seek to renew a bridging visa in order to be released from immigration detention. To be granted a bridging visa, this group of asylum seekers must sign the Code, and are thereafter bound by a ‘list of expectations’ regarding how to behave ‘at all times’ while in Australia. The Code’s expectations range from obeying the law, to refraining from spreading rumours, swearing in public, bullying anyone or lying to government officials. The Code’s introduction fits within a policy framework of punishment and deterrence applied to asylum seekers who arrive in Australia by boat and without authorisation. It functions to expand state surveillance and control over ‘illegal maritime arrivals’ and introduces a new mechanism to re-detain and punish asylum seekers living in Australia. As at December 2018, 15674 asylum seekers classed as ‘unauthorised maritime arrivals’, many of whom arrived between 2011 and 2014, were still living in the community on short-term bridging visas.
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