Big increases in Australian Government payments to asylum seekers who decide to return home simply allows “broader scope” to help them out, Immigration Minister Scott Morrison insists.
Settlement or return packages are tailored to individual circumstances and may involve the Australian taxpayer covering housing or training costs once asylum seekers head home.
Payments now range between $3300 and $10,000 depending on where the person came from, Fairfax Media reported.
Under Labor, packages on offer were about $1500 to $2000.
Mr Morrison said the number of people on bridging visas who decided to return to their home country had tripled since the Abbott government made it clear they wouldn’t get permanent residency.
But the change to payment figures was more recent.
“Where people are considering going home, then we can be in a position to help them act on that,” he told Ten Network on Sunday.
“We’ve only just given ourselves broader scope. It’s a matter of having more options available.”
The minister always intended to encourage people who decided to return home, he said.
It costs the government about $45,000 a year to support someone staying in Australia on a bridging visa.