Asylum seeker shock over visa rejection

Yuko Narushima; 7/5/10

Immigration Minister Chris Evans has been accused of perpetuating a cruel hoax after his department rejected asylum seekers he moved to Darwin on the prospect of a visa. The 20 men were among the first to be transferred off Christmas Island to the Darwin detention centre last month. At the time, Senator Evans said the men were in ”the final stages of a positive pathway”, code for permanent residency in Australia. On Tuesday, the immigration department notified the men of their rejection. Refugee advocate Ian Rintoul said the men, mostly from Afghanistan, were in various states of anger and despair. ”It is exactly this kind of arbitrariness and uncertainty that leads to mental anguish and acts of self-harm,” Mr Rintoul said. ”It is difficult to imagine a more vicious trick to play on such vulnerable people.”