TEHRAN (FNA)- Australia on Saturday offered asylum seekers at immigration camps in Southeast Asia up to AUD 10,000 (USD 9,400) if they drop their applications for refugee status and return home.
"Those returning to Lebanon from detention centers on Papua New Guinea'sManus Island and the tiny Pacific state of Nauru were offered the highest amount of AUD 10,000," AP reported. "Iranians and Sudanese were given AUD 7,000 if they dropped bids for refugee status, Afghans AUD 4,000 and those from Pakistan, Nepal and Myanmar AUD 3,300," the report said. It further noted that under the previous Labor administration, in office until last September, the payments were much lower, ranging from AUD 1,500 to AUD 2,000. Immigration Minister Scott Morrison did not confirm the figures, but a spokesman said the "return packages" were "tailored to the circumstances of each case". "The process of voluntary return has been standard policy for more than 10 years," the spokesman said. The opposition Labor party warned the government against issuing "blank cheques" to asylum seekers. Â Â Â Â