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  • World Immigration: World News

    Apparently Americans are not the only ones in the World facing the problems of Mass Migration/Immigration. It helps to compare the current situation here with the rest of the World in order to better assess/analyze and deal with these issues.

    Below are excerpts from www.world-immigration.com website:

    ____________________________________

    1.

    Thaksin warns illegals to register or be deported
    Thai PM targets illegal migrants from Myanmar, Cambodia and Laos to stem influx of foreign workers
    BANGKOK - All illegal migrant workers from Myanmar, Cambodia and Laos will be deported from Thailand if they do not register with the authorities this month, Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra warned yesterday.
    Thailand has set a deadline of next Saturday for more than 1.2 million illegal workers from the three nations to register with the Labour Ministry.
    'After July 31, illegal workers will be arrested and deported to their countries in any circumstances,' Mr Thaksin said in his weekly radio address.
    The government launched its campaign for the registration of illegal workers from the three countries on July 1, aiming for a long-term solution to a massive influx of foreign workers.
    Thailand has long been a prime destination for migrants from neighbouring countries who flee their homelands for fear of political persecution or in search of better economic prospects.
    Their lack of legal status makes them subject to exploitation.
    Non-governmental organisations and Thailand's human rights commission have highlighted deteriorating conditions for the kingdom's 1.2 million to two million migrant workers, most of them women, who often toil and live in squalor in dozens of factories along the Myanmar border.
    The groups have argued for years for improved working conditions for the migrants, the majority of whom are from Myanmar, particularly as their lack of legal status exposes them to exploitation and sexual abuse.
    Among those exploited were Myanmar nationals in a Taiwanese-owned company in Tak province's Mae Sot district who were fired in 2002 after demanding that their employer pay them the minimum daily wage of 133 baht (S$5.60) in accordance with Thai law.
    Mr Thaksin said 766,643 illegal workers had registered so far, of whom 550,000 were Myanmar nationals, 115,000 Laotian and 97,000 Cambodian.
    He said unscrupulous agents who had offered to register illegal workers for a smaller fee than that set by the government would face legal action for deception.
    Migrant workers who register with the government must pay a 3,800-baht fee for a check-up, medical insurance and a work permit.
    Traffickers of migrant workers will face up to 10 years in jail, a 100,000-baht fine or both. Their wealth may also be confiscated by the Anti-Money Laundering Office, Interior Minister Wan Muhamad Noor Matha said on Saturday.
    'The employers of illegal workers and the workers themselves will face severe penalties as this problem has an impact on national security,' the minister added. -- The Nation/Asia News Network, AFP


    __________________________________

    2.

    Thursday 29.07.2004, CET 19:07


    Switzerland sees marked decline in asylum seekers

    swissinfo July 28, 2004 6:20 PM


    Young asylum seekers in the kitchen of a Swiss reception centre (Keystone) [photo of two refugees staring at large cooking pan while the other grabs a sizeable chunk of food to give it to hungry bystanders]

    The number of asylum seekers arriving in Switzerland during the first half of the year has fallen by 17.2 per cent.

    The Federal Refugee Office attributes the drop to measures taken in recent years and a general decline in asylum requests across Europe.



    RELATED ITEMS


    UN criticises Swiss asylum plans
    Report calls for tighter immigration checks
    Parliament moves towards new immigration law
    Asylum policy pleases no one




    Figures out on Wednesday come just a day after the United Nations refugee agency told Switzerland that it was "seriously concerned" about plans to tighten the country's asylum policy.

    The Geneva-based UNHCR said some of the proposed measures ran contrary to the spirit and letter of the 1951 Refugee Convention.

    And it pointed out that the proposals were being made at a time when the number of asylum seekers across Europe had dropped substantially.

    The total number of people seeking refuge in Switzerland stood at 62,505 at the end of June – 5.6 per cent less than a year ago and the lowest level since the end of 1990.

    Stabilise

    According to Dominique Boillat, a spokesman for the Federal Refugee Office, the number of people seeking asylum in Switzerland is expected to stabilise.

    "At the end of the 1990s, with the war in Kosovo, we had up to 110,000 asylum seekers and people who were admitted temporarily, which was a historical high," he told swissinfo.

    "Many of these people have now gone home and since 2000, their numbers have been falling slowly every year," he added.

    In the first six months of this year, the number of people leaving the country exceeded new asylum requests. A total of 8,391 persons asked for asylum, while 9,412 left the country.

    Boillat echoed the UN refugee agency, saying that requests for asylum had been falling across western Europe since 2002.

    He explained that the increase in people leaving was due to "better organisation", adding that repatriation agreements with other countries were bearing fruit.

    Restrictive measures

    The government says restrictive measures across Europe are also having a long-term effect on the number of departures.

    "Germany and the Netherlands have just tightened their asylum legislation and France is set to do the same," said Boillat.

    "Since last year the Dublin accord [on asylum] has been in force. A person can put in an asylum request in one country only and a centralised file can tell immediately if he has already been refused somewhere else."

    "It is important for Switzerland to join this system, if it does not want to inherit all those asylum seekers who were refused elsewhere," he added.

    Parliament is due to discuss joining the Dublin accord, which forms part of a second set of bilateral treaties with the European Union.

    Going underground

    However, Boillat said that although the number of asylum seekers leaving Switzerland had increased, the figures did not include those who had gone underground and had therefore disappeared from statistics.

    Boillat also explained why Switzerland was not seeing a wave of asylum seekers from the Darfur region of Sudan or from Iraq.

    "More often than not, there is no link between conflicts which break out and the number of requests for asylum in Switzerland. The people of Darfur can only manage to flee to the next border. They don't have the means to arrive here," he said.

    The Federal Refugee Office said figures for June showed that 1,195 people had applied for asylum. This was 8.6 per cent more than in May, but 23.5 per cent less than in June last year.

    Citizens from Serbia and Montenegro topped the list of asylum seekers in June with 172 requests, up by 8.2 per cent on the previous month.

    As in April and May, Turks (112) and Georgians (53) followed in second and third place.

    The Federal Refugee Office noted a marked increase of people arriving at the Swiss border from Slovakia and Bulgaria.

    In the space of a month, the number of requests from Slovakians increased tenfold (52), while those from Bulgaria almost doubled to 49.

    swissinfo with agencies

    ______________________________________


    3.

    Asia Breaking News


    Indonesia warns Malaysia deporting workers could hurt ties

    Indonesia's Foreign Minister Hassan Wirayuda has warned Malaysia that deporting illegal Indonesian workers during the election period could hurt bilateral relations.

    Earlier this month Malaysia announced that it plans to undertake a major crackdown on illegal immigrants which could see some 600 thousand Indonesians being deported.

    A mass influx of deported workers could be a major headache for president Megawati Sukarnoputri.

    In 2002 she was accused of being indifferent to the plight of some 200, thousand workers who were stranded in squalid camps near the border after being deported from Malaysia.

    Mr Wirayuda says Malaysia has agreed not to deport workers before the election period is over.

    Indonesia will hold a presidential election run-off between incumbent President Megawati Sukarnoputri and her ex-security minister Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono on September 20.


    29/07/2004 04:19:46 | ABC Radio Australia News


    _______________________________________


    4.

    Hankooki.com > Korea Times


    NK Refugees Abandon Asylum Bids to South
    Remain in China to Care for Families in North Korea


    By Jung Sung-ki
    An increasing number of North Korean defectors in China are abandoning their bids to seek asylum in South Korea due chiefly to fears of being repatriated to the North. Instead, they mainly settle there to support their families in the famine-stricken North Korea.

    In a recent interview published in a monthly booklet released by the Association of the Defectors of North Korea in Seoul, a North Korean defector who came to Seoul in 2002 elaborated on the reality of life for North Korean defectors in China.

    The North Korean defector, using the assumed name of Chung Young-il, visited China last month, where he said he met with about 70 North Korean refugees.

    ``The number of defectors wanting to come to the South has dropped substantially,ЎЇЎЇ Chung explained. ``Instead of taking the risk of being captured by Chinese security police and sent back to the North, many of them prefer to send food and money to their families in North Korea while working in China.ЎЇЎЇ

    Some North Korean defectors have been put in labor camps with Chinese economic criminals, where the defectors face harsher treatment than the Chinese, Chung said.

    ``North Korean defectors in the labor camps think dying there would be much better than being repatriated,ЎЇЎЇ said the 52-year-old North Korean defector. ``I heard that some defectors even swallowed nails to commit suicide.ЎЇЎЇ

    Chung also said that Beijing has recently intensified its crackdown on crimes involving North Korean defectors, including prostitution and human trafficking, which is seen as a move to avoid international criticism of the human rights situation in the country.

    ``Border security has become much looser than six months ago,ЎЇЎЇ he said. ``So I heard that some North Korean defectors go to the North once every three months to give money to their families,ЎЇЎЇ he said, adding that recently Pyongang has let some North Koreans cross the river to get food and necessities from China, considering the coutry's food shortage problem.

    But the trafficking of North Korean women is still common in China despite BeijingЎЇs crackdown.

    ``North Korean women are sold at prices ranging from 450,000 won ($375) to 700,000 won ($583),ЎЇЎЇ he said. ``But the women seemed satisfied with it, just because they can use the money to support their families in the North.ЎЇЎЇ

    Meanwhile, Chung said many North Koreans were still ignorant of events in the outside world, including the recent inter-Korean economic cooperation and food aid from the South.

    ``Few North Koreans I met in China knew about the Mt. Kumgang tours and Kaesong industrial park,ЎЇЎЇ he said.

    Chung said that some North Koreans sometimes expressed strong anti-American sentiment. ``Some say that South Korea only became prosperous because it kowtows to the U.S., which hinders inter-Korean reunification.ЎЇЎЇ



    gallantjung@koreatimes.co.kr


    _____________________________________


    5.

    Japan Tiimes

    FEATURE

    Views from the street

    With anecdotal evidence supporting an increase in foreigners stopped by police, Melanie Burton asked some likely targets if they were intimidated by the police presence.

    Eric Alcantara
    Engineer, 26
    If you're not doing anything wrong, and as long as you've got your gaijin card, there's nothing to worry about.



    Jen Lusk
    Asst. trainer, 26
    I had some friends who were walking home at 1 a.m., and were assaulted, but they were the ones who got in trouble with the law. Since then I've been a little bit nervous.



    Antoine Hue
    Marketing, 43
    I feel very safe here. Still, at Immigration I get asked more questions, but that's still less questions than I get asked when I return to the U.S. and I have a green card.



    Patrick Pathinathan
    Sales manager, 31
    No, I don't feel worried at all. If the police asked me anything I would fully cooperate. You have to respect the laws of the country.



    Richard Ingold
    Tutor, 29
    I don't feel any more worried being here, but then I'm a white boy with a decent job. I think people from other Asian countries would have it harder.



    Bascot Se
    French teacher, 31
    I don't worry because I'm not doing anything wrong, but I have heard some very scary stories. I think it depends on where you are, what the time is, and your condition.

    The Japan Times: July 27, 2004
    (C) All rights reserved



    _____________________________________


    6.

    UK 'no work' visa rule hits studentsjavascript:clippopup(791355);javascript:clippopup(791355);
    TINA PAREKH

    TIMES NEWS NETWORK[ TUESDAY, JULY 27, 2004 02:10:16 AM ]

    AHMEDABAD: The global Gujarati is angry again. After the US made it difficult for wannabe emigrants with a slew of checks, the UK has followed suit, putting in place stringent measures that would prevent students finding permanent employment in Britain.



    This has left people like Pranav Shah upset. The changes have come at a time when he has applied for a management course in the UK, hoping to eventually apply for a work permit and earn enough to recover his tuition fee and settle in the country.

    British home secretary David Blunkett recently announced stringent rules to stop temporary migrants, including students who switch to permanent employment, to tackle abuse of immigration programmes.

    The changes, to come into effect from October 1, are likely to hit nearly 15,000 Indian students who go to the UK every year. The move will restrict the circumstances under which people from non-European Union nations can switch from their temporary status in the UK to a category leading to permanent settlement like the work permit scheme, the Highly Skilled Migration Programme (HSMP) and the Innovator category.

    At present, people with a temporary status can apply for a work permit without leaving the UK.
    Experts, who are still studying the new development, say that many people "” like students, post-graduate doctors/dentists, trainee general practitioners, student nurses, working holidaymakers who have been in the UK for at least 12 months or Sectors-Based Scheme (SBS) work permit holders "” falling in the temporary categories would have to return to their home country once their visa period is over and go through a fresh set of procedures.

    "The changes will affect students like me who hoped to work in the UK. It is because of students who have abused the student visa to gain illegal entry that genuine students are having to pay the price," says Vadodara's Shivang Dhruv, who is pursuing a marketing course at a UK university.

    "This move will discourage students. Most of them invest Rs 5-10 lakh towards tuition fee and hope to recover it by working in the UK. Coming to India and applying for a work permit will prove to be a cumbersome and an expensive process," says overseas education consultant Prasanna Acharya.

    "I have invested Rs 5.5 lakh for a business information technology course in the UK. But this change will make getting a work permit after my studies a tough job," says another student Nirav Nikhare.

    Many feel this was bound to happen. "The first signs came when Scotland Yard raided bogus universities and arrested agents misusing student visas," says another consultant Falgun Kumar.


    ________________________________________



    7.

    News| Immigration and Labour


    Massive Buraimi crackdown to catch illegal immigrants eases




    By Aftab Kazmi

    Bureau Chief

    Al Ain: The operation to arrest illegal immigrants from Buraimi, an Omani town bordering the UAE city of Al Ain, eased yesterday, residents said.

    Community sources said law enforcement authorities there launched an intensive crackdown on Sunday, but there was no official confirmation of the raids from Omani or UAE authorities.

    Mohammad Hanif, a Pakistani resident of Buraimi, said: "I have not seen such a massive operation in the last 14 years. Security agencies raided neighbourhoods day and night, catching illegal immigrants even while they were asleep in their homes. But they first checked papers and then made the arrests."

    Buraimi wore a deserted look yesterday, with many not daring to venture out of their houses. Gulshan Kumar, an Indian, said: "I think the raids are almost over."

    Ahsan Al Haq, a Bangladeshi resident of Buraimi, said it was a sudden operation and its main thrust was in the Wadi Al Jazai and Mahdha areas. Security agencies are still patrolling those areas.

    He said: "Many illegal immigrants enter Buraimi and then the UAE from these two areas. They come by boat from Iran and Pakistan."

    He said Wadi Al Jazai and Mahdha areas are mountainous, and infiltrators easily evade the security checkposts located on the main Buraimi-Muscat highway to reach Buraimi and then go on to the UAE.

    Idris Ahmad, another Pakistani, said expatriates who were on UAE visas were also arrested during the raids. "I don't know what has happened to them," he said, when asked whether they were released.

    A large number of Pashtuns, who were living in Eastern Sanaiya (industrial area) of Al Ain, moved to Buraimi after their illegally constructed shacks and huts were demolished in April by the UAE authorities. Most of them were staying in Eastern Sanaiya illegally.

    Community sources said the Pashtuns were worried about the latest crackdown, and many have gone into hiding in Buraimi.

    The UAE authorities have also been taking steps to restrict the movement of expatriates on Omani visas and illegal immigrants from Oman.


    10 infiltrators held in three days

    The Armed Forces Frontier Guards arrested 10 infiltrators of various nationalities over the last three days.

    The infiltrators, who were arrested while they were trying to enter the country illegally, have been detained pending trial. The move is part of a national campaign to put an end to the phenomenon.

    - WAM



    __________________________________________


    8.

    Local News

    Web posted on July 26, 2004 at 9:30:00 AM CET
    25 illegal Somali immigrants rescued five miles off Delimara
    -
    The Armed Forces of Malta were yesterday called into action to rescue 25 illegal immigrants aboard a five-metre boat.

    The vessel was in distress after springing a leak and was spotted some five miles south of Delimara.

    The AFM vessel was on a routine patrol mission to the south of the island when the craft was spotted at around 4.15am. The boat was in distress and in imminent danger of sinking as it was taking on water with 17 men and eight women aboard. The wooden boat – not more than five metres long – was steaming north, sources said, when for some reason the vessel seemed to have sprang a leak, probably because of the stress placed on it by the overload of passengers.

    AFM officers helped the passengers aboard the patrol vessel and after a preliminary assessment of their health condition, took them to Hay Wharf where they were then handed over to police officers from the immigration section, who are investigating the matter. Verifications are still pending, however it seems that the immigrants are Somali nationals.

    Officials from the Health Department were called in to give the immigrants a medical test, following which they were taken to the Safi barracks were they will be detained, pending further proceedings. Their health condition is said to be good.

    _____________________________________


    9.

    Turkey Detains 137 Illegal Immigrants Trying To Sail To Greece
    AFP: 7/28/2004
    ANKARA, July 28 (AFP) - Turkish paramilitary troops on Wednesday detained 137 would-be immigrants from Asian and African countries as they attempted to sail from the country's western coast to the nearby Greek island of Samos, a local source said.
    Acting on a tip-off, troops stopped the immigrants from Azerbaijan, Mauritania, Algeria, Afghanistan and Somalia shortly after they set off from near Didim, on the Aegean coast, aboard a Turkish fishing vessel, the source told AFP on condition of anonymity.
    The ship was seized and three Turks suspected of transporting the immigrants to the coast by truck were arrested.
    "The captain and the crew of the ship escaped, but we know who the owner of the ship is and we will catch them as well," the source said.
    Turkey lies on a major route for people-smuggling from Asia to western Europe, and illegal migrants are detained almost on a daily basis.



    ________________________________________


    10.

    Spielberg spins the tale of the prisoner of Paris airport

    Amelia Gentleman
    Tuesday July 27, 2004
    The Guardian

    Merhan Karimi Nasseri is not sure whether he will manage to attend the Paris premiere of Steven Spielberg's latest film, The Terminal, which was inspired by his life. If he abandons the corner of Charles de Gaulle airport where he has lived for the past 16 years for long enough to travel into the capital for the ceremony, airport security will blow up his belongings.
    Instead, he has the consolation of around $300,000, (£163,000) which was recently paid by Spielberg's Dreamworks production company into the account he holds in the airport post office, a few steps away from the red plastic bench which has served as his home since 1988.
    He will earn further royalties as payment for allowing his extraordinary life as a long-term stateless refugee to be reworked as fiction, if the film, which comes out in Britain in September, is a success.
    But despite his windfall, Mr Nasseri says: "I don't spend more than few euros a day. I eat breakfast in McDonald's and buy a few newspapers. I'm saving the rest for when I leave here."
    Mr Nasseri, who insists on being called Sir Alfred Merhan, hopes that the movie will draw attention to his plight, but he may have trouble recognising his story in the predictably saccharine-coated Hollywood version, which stars Tom Hanks and has Catherine Zeta-Jones as the air hostess love interest.
    Mr Nasseri first made his home at the airport in August 1988. Still paperless and very muddled, he refuses to leave, even though his lawyers have a solution to the legal and bureaucratic tangle.
    "It's a sort of marginal life I lead," he said yesterday. "Not many people speak to me. Sometimes I go for a month without talking to anyone."
    The precise details of his life remain unclear: even his age, believed to be 59, is not confirmed, and as he becomes more mentally frail, his version of the facts has shifted dramatically. Probably born in 1945 in Iran, Mr Nasseri was educated at Bradford University, and participated in protests against the shah in the 1970s, which led to his expulsion from Iran when he returned in 1976.
    It seems Britain refused him political asylum; the fact that his mother was Scottish made no difference to his case. He was imprisoned in Belgium for four months in 1988 as an illegal immigrant after his refugee papers were stolen, before being taken to the Paris airport for expulsion to Iran. Fearing possible persecution, he declared himself stateless, and has remained in the terminal ever since.
    Two airport trolleys mark out his patch of space. Three suits, packed in plastic dry-cleaning bags, hang from one. Lufthansa cardboard boxes, filled with personal belongings, are piled up on the other, next to a jumble of suitcases and plastic bags. Towels are draped out to dry behind the bench, which backs on to a specular vista of the airport's internal courtyard.
    Armed airport guards pace past but pay him no attention. He is constantly tired because in order to sleep he has to curve his body at an uncomfortable angle in line with the crescent shape of his bench; he uses earplugs to block out the incessant public announcements.
    Despite the difficulties, he is fastidiously clean and looks much like any other air traveller. His Lacoste jacket was bought in the shop opposite, where the staff occasionally wash his clothes for him.
    He gets up at 5am to wash in the public toilets. "If I go later, it's crowded with tourists and not very private," he said.
    He spends the day listening to the radio, reading books (this week he started on Bill Clinton's life) and writing his diary, which is being turned into an autobiography by an English ghostwriter. He receives post from travellers who have tried to befriend him and he takes the occasional phone call in the shops nearby.
    It is not clear whether he ever will leave. In 1999, the French authorities granted him a temporary residency permit and a refugee's passport, giving him a way out. But he refused to sign the necessary papers, contesting his surname and that he was born in Iran.
    "This was when I realised he had lost his grip on reality," Christian Bourguet, the lawyer who championed his case, said. "He can't do anything until he signs the papers, and he won't."
    In the pharmacy opposite, Martin Youenang, who has observed Mr Nasseri for 10 years, said he would need psychiatric support to return to society. "He is a very solitary man, who has grown accustomed to his life here.
    "It would take a lot of courage to leave and I'm not sure how he would cope in the real world."


    _____________________________________


    11. [This one's cracked me up ]

    Deported man boomerangs
    20/05/2004 13:49 - (SA)


    Sydney, Australia - An asylum seeker deported from Australia to Africa ended his journey back where he started, a Sydney newspaper reported on Thursday, following a 17-flight, A$24 000 Australian dollar (about R113 000) trip.

    Idris Abdulrahman's three-year quest for refugee status in Australia was rejected last year and in December he was sent on a plane, with two escorts, to Tanzania via South Africa.

    Sudanese officials in Tanzania checked his Australian government-issued identity papers but refused to allow Abdulrahman - who was born in Kuwait to Sudanese parents - to enter Sudan.

    Since Abdulrahman was refused entry, and Tanzania didn't want him, Australia was forced to take him back.

    The voyage took two weeks, during which Abdulrahman was detained at both the South African and Tanzanian airports, involving five guards and 17 flights over a distance of 24 000km, Sydney's Daily Telegraph reported on Thursday.

    Upon his return to Australia, Abdulrahman was sent to a detention center in South Australia, where he is being held at a cost of A$310 a day, the Telegraph said.

    He has reapplied for a temporary refugee visa, his lawyer told the Telegraph.

    Immigration Minister Amanda Vanstone did not immediately return calls for comment.

  • #2
    Apparently Americans are not the only ones in the World facing the problems of Mass Migration/Immigration. It helps to compare the current situation here with the rest of the World in order to better assess/analyze and deal with these issues.

    Below are excerpts from www.world-immigration.com website:

    ____________________________________

    1.

    Thaksin warns illegals to register or be deported
    Thai PM targets illegal migrants from Myanmar, Cambodia and Laos to stem influx of foreign workers
    BANGKOK - All illegal migrant workers from Myanmar, Cambodia and Laos will be deported from Thailand if they do not register with the authorities this month, Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra warned yesterday.
    Thailand has set a deadline of next Saturday for more than 1.2 million illegal workers from the three nations to register with the Labour Ministry.
    'After July 31, illegal workers will be arrested and deported to their countries in any circumstances,' Mr Thaksin said in his weekly radio address.
    The government launched its campaign for the registration of illegal workers from the three countries on July 1, aiming for a long-term solution to a massive influx of foreign workers.
    Thailand has long been a prime destination for migrants from neighbouring countries who flee their homelands for fear of political persecution or in search of better economic prospects.
    Their lack of legal status makes them subject to exploitation.
    Non-governmental organisations and Thailand's human rights commission have highlighted deteriorating conditions for the kingdom's 1.2 million to two million migrant workers, most of them women, who often toil and live in squalor in dozens of factories along the Myanmar border.
    The groups have argued for years for improved working conditions for the migrants, the majority of whom are from Myanmar, particularly as their lack of legal status exposes them to exploitation and sexual abuse.
    Among those exploited were Myanmar nationals in a Taiwanese-owned company in Tak province's Mae Sot district who were fired in 2002 after demanding that their employer pay them the minimum daily wage of 133 baht (S$5.60) in accordance with Thai law.
    Mr Thaksin said 766,643 illegal workers had registered so far, of whom 550,000 were Myanmar nationals, 115,000 Laotian and 97,000 Cambodian.
    He said unscrupulous agents who had offered to register illegal workers for a smaller fee than that set by the government would face legal action for deception.
    Migrant workers who register with the government must pay a 3,800-baht fee for a check-up, medical insurance and a work permit.
    Traffickers of migrant workers will face up to 10 years in jail, a 100,000-baht fine or both. Their wealth may also be confiscated by the Anti-Money Laundering Office, Interior Minister Wan Muhamad Noor Matha said on Saturday.
    'The employers of illegal workers and the workers themselves will face severe penalties as this problem has an impact on national security,' the minister added. -- The Nation/Asia News Network, AFP


    __________________________________

    2.

    Thursday 29.07.2004, CET 19:07


    Switzerland sees marked decline in asylum seekers

    swissinfo July 28, 2004 6:20 PM


    Young asylum seekers in the kitchen of a Swiss reception centre (Keystone) [photo of two refugees staring at large cooking pan while the other grabs a sizeable chunk of food to give it to hungry bystanders]

    The number of asylum seekers arriving in Switzerland during the first half of the year has fallen by 17.2 per cent.

    The Federal Refugee Office attributes the drop to measures taken in recent years and a general decline in asylum requests across Europe.



    RELATED ITEMS


    UN criticises Swiss asylum plans
    Report calls for tighter immigration checks
    Parliament moves towards new immigration law
    Asylum policy pleases no one




    Figures out on Wednesday come just a day after the United Nations refugee agency told Switzerland that it was "seriously concerned" about plans to tighten the country's asylum policy.

    The Geneva-based UNHCR said some of the proposed measures ran contrary to the spirit and letter of the 1951 Refugee Convention.

    And it pointed out that the proposals were being made at a time when the number of asylum seekers across Europe had dropped substantially.

    The total number of people seeking refuge in Switzerland stood at 62,505 at the end of June – 5.6 per cent less than a year ago and the lowest level since the end of 1990.

    Stabilise

    According to Dominique Boillat, a spokesman for the Federal Refugee Office, the number of people seeking asylum in Switzerland is expected to stabilise.

    "At the end of the 1990s, with the war in Kosovo, we had up to 110,000 asylum seekers and people who were admitted temporarily, which was a historical high," he told swissinfo.

    "Many of these people have now gone home and since 2000, their numbers have been falling slowly every year," he added.

    In the first six months of this year, the number of people leaving the country exceeded new asylum requests. A total of 8,391 persons asked for asylum, while 9,412 left the country.

    Boillat echoed the UN refugee agency, saying that requests for asylum had been falling across western Europe since 2002.

    He explained that the increase in people leaving was due to "better organisation", adding that repatriation agreements with other countries were bearing fruit.

    Restrictive measures

    The government says restrictive measures across Europe are also having a long-term effect on the number of departures.

    "Germany and the Netherlands have just tightened their asylum legislation and France is set to do the same," said Boillat.

    "Since last year the Dublin accord [on asylum] has been in force. A person can put in an asylum request in one country only and a centralised file can tell immediately if he has already been refused somewhere else."

    "It is important for Switzerland to join this system, if it does not want to inherit all those asylum seekers who were refused elsewhere," he added.

    Parliament is due to discuss joining the Dublin accord, which forms part of a second set of bilateral treaties with the European Union.

    Going underground

    However, Boillat said that although the number of asylum seekers leaving Switzerland had increased, the figures did not include those who had gone underground and had therefore disappeared from statistics.

    Boillat also explained why Switzerland was not seeing a wave of asylum seekers from the Darfur region of Sudan or from Iraq.

    "More often than not, there is no link between conflicts which break out and the number of requests for asylum in Switzerland. The people of Darfur can only manage to flee to the next border. They don't have the means to arrive here," he said.

    The Federal Refugee Office said figures for June showed that 1,195 people had applied for asylum. This was 8.6 per cent more than in May, but 23.5 per cent less than in June last year.

    Citizens from Serbia and Montenegro topped the list of asylum seekers in June with 172 requests, up by 8.2 per cent on the previous month.

    As in April and May, Turks (112) and Georgians (53) followed in second and third place.

    The Federal Refugee Office noted a marked increase of people arriving at the Swiss border from Slovakia and Bulgaria.

    In the space of a month, the number of requests from Slovakians increased tenfold (52), while those from Bulgaria almost doubled to 49.

    swissinfo with agencies

    ______________________________________


    3.

    Asia Breaking News


    Indonesia warns Malaysia deporting workers could hurt ties

    Indonesia's Foreign Minister Hassan Wirayuda has warned Malaysia that deporting illegal Indonesian workers during the election period could hurt bilateral relations.

    Earlier this month Malaysia announced that it plans to undertake a major crackdown on illegal immigrants which could see some 600 thousand Indonesians being deported.

    A mass influx of deported workers could be a major headache for president Megawati Sukarnoputri.

    In 2002 she was accused of being indifferent to the plight of some 200, thousand workers who were stranded in squalid camps near the border after being deported from Malaysia.

    Mr Wirayuda says Malaysia has agreed not to deport workers before the election period is over.

    Indonesia will hold a presidential election run-off between incumbent President Megawati Sukarnoputri and her ex-security minister Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono on September 20.


    29/07/2004 04:19:46 | ABC Radio Australia News


    _______________________________________


    4.

    Hankooki.com > Korea Times


    NK Refugees Abandon Asylum Bids to South
    Remain in China to Care for Families in North Korea


    By Jung Sung-ki
    An increasing number of North Korean defectors in China are abandoning their bids to seek asylum in South Korea due chiefly to fears of being repatriated to the North. Instead, they mainly settle there to support their families in the famine-stricken North Korea.

    In a recent interview published in a monthly booklet released by the Association of the Defectors of North Korea in Seoul, a North Korean defector who came to Seoul in 2002 elaborated on the reality of life for North Korean defectors in China.

    The North Korean defector, using the assumed name of Chung Young-il, visited China last month, where he said he met with about 70 North Korean refugees.

    ``The number of defectors wanting to come to the South has dropped substantially,ЎЇЎЇ Chung explained. ``Instead of taking the risk of being captured by Chinese security police and sent back to the North, many of them prefer to send food and money to their families in North Korea while working in China.ЎЇЎЇ

    Some North Korean defectors have been put in labor camps with Chinese economic criminals, where the defectors face harsher treatment than the Chinese, Chung said.

    ``North Korean defectors in the labor camps think dying there would be much better than being repatriated,ЎЇЎЇ said the 52-year-old North Korean defector. ``I heard that some defectors even swallowed nails to commit suicide.ЎЇЎЇ

    Chung also said that Beijing has recently intensified its crackdown on crimes involving North Korean defectors, including prostitution and human trafficking, which is seen as a move to avoid international criticism of the human rights situation in the country.

    ``Border security has become much looser than six months ago,ЎЇЎЇ he said. ``So I heard that some North Korean defectors go to the North once every three months to give money to their families,ЎЇЎЇ he said, adding that recently Pyongang has let some North Koreans cross the river to get food and necessities from China, considering the coutry's food shortage problem.

    But the trafficking of North Korean women is still common in China despite BeijingЎЇs crackdown.

    ``North Korean women are sold at prices ranging from 450,000 won ($375) to 700,000 won ($583),ЎЇЎЇ he said. ``But the women seemed satisfied with it, just because they can use the money to support their families in the North.ЎЇЎЇ

    Meanwhile, Chung said many North Koreans were still ignorant of events in the outside world, including the recent inter-Korean economic cooperation and food aid from the South.

    ``Few North Koreans I met in China knew about the Mt. Kumgang tours and Kaesong industrial park,ЎЇЎЇ he said.

    Chung said that some North Koreans sometimes expressed strong anti-American sentiment. ``Some say that South Korea only became prosperous because it kowtows to the U.S., which hinders inter-Korean reunification.ЎЇЎЇ



    gallantjung@koreatimes.co.kr


    _____________________________________


    5.

    Japan Tiimes

    FEATURE

    Views from the street

    With anecdotal evidence supporting an increase in foreigners stopped by police, Melanie Burton asked some likely targets if they were intimidated by the police presence.

    Eric Alcantara
    Engineer, 26
    If you're not doing anything wrong, and as long as you've got your gaijin card, there's nothing to worry about.



    Jen Lusk
    Asst. trainer, 26
    I had some friends who were walking home at 1 a.m., and were assaulted, but they were the ones who got in trouble with the law. Since then I've been a little bit nervous.



    Antoine Hue
    Marketing, 43
    I feel very safe here. Still, at Immigration I get asked more questions, but that's still less questions than I get asked when I return to the U.S. and I have a green card.



    Patrick Pathinathan
    Sales manager, 31
    No, I don't feel worried at all. If the police asked me anything I would fully cooperate. You have to respect the laws of the country.



    Richard Ingold
    Tutor, 29
    I don't feel any more worried being here, but then I'm a white boy with a decent job. I think people from other Asian countries would have it harder.



    Bascot Se
    French teacher, 31
    I don't worry because I'm not doing anything wrong, but I have heard some very scary stories. I think it depends on where you are, what the time is, and your condition.

    The Japan Times: July 27, 2004
    (C) All rights reserved



    _____________________________________


    6.

    UK 'no work' visa rule hits studentsjavascript:clippopup(791355);javascript:clippopup(791355);
    TINA PAREKH

    TIMES NEWS NETWORK[ TUESDAY, JULY 27, 2004 02:10:16 AM ]

    AHMEDABAD: The global Gujarati is angry again. After the US made it difficult for wannabe emigrants with a slew of checks, the UK has followed suit, putting in place stringent measures that would prevent students finding permanent employment in Britain.



    This has left people like Pranav Shah upset. The changes have come at a time when he has applied for a management course in the UK, hoping to eventually apply for a work permit and earn enough to recover his tuition fee and settle in the country.

    British home secretary David Blunkett recently announced stringent rules to stop temporary migrants, including students who switch to permanent employment, to tackle abuse of immigration programmes.

    The changes, to come into effect from October 1, are likely to hit nearly 15,000 Indian students who go to the UK every year. The move will restrict the circumstances under which people from non-European Union nations can switch from their temporary status in the UK to a category leading to permanent settlement like the work permit scheme, the Highly Skilled Migration Programme (HSMP) and the Innovator category.

    At present, people with a temporary status can apply for a work permit without leaving the UK.
    Experts, who are still studying the new development, say that many people "” like students, post-graduate doctors/dentists, trainee general practitioners, student nurses, working holidaymakers who have been in the UK for at least 12 months or Sectors-Based Scheme (SBS) work permit holders "” falling in the temporary categories would have to return to their home country once their visa period is over and go through a fresh set of procedures.

    "The changes will affect students like me who hoped to work in the UK. It is because of students who have abused the student visa to gain illegal entry that genuine students are having to pay the price," says Vadodara's Shivang Dhruv, who is pursuing a marketing course at a UK university.

    "This move will discourage students. Most of them invest Rs 5-10 lakh towards tuition fee and hope to recover it by working in the UK. Coming to India and applying for a work permit will prove to be a cumbersome and an expensive process," says overseas education consultant Prasanna Acharya.

    "I have invested Rs 5.5 lakh for a business information technology course in the UK. But this change will make getting a work permit after my studies a tough job," says another student Nirav Nikhare.

    Many feel this was bound to happen. "The first signs came when Scotland Yard raided bogus universities and arrested agents misusing student visas," says another consultant Falgun Kumar.


    ________________________________________



    7.

    News| Immigration and Labour


    Massive Buraimi crackdown to catch illegal immigrants eases




    By Aftab Kazmi

    Bureau Chief

    Al Ain: The operation to arrest illegal immigrants from Buraimi, an Omani town bordering the UAE city of Al Ain, eased yesterday, residents said.

    Community sources said law enforcement authorities there launched an intensive crackdown on Sunday, but there was no official confirmation of the raids from Omani or UAE authorities.

    Mohammad Hanif, a Pakistani resident of Buraimi, said: "I have not seen such a massive operation in the last 14 years. Security agencies raided neighbourhoods day and night, catching illegal immigrants even while they were asleep in their homes. But they first checked papers and then made the arrests."

    Buraimi wore a deserted look yesterday, with many not daring to venture out of their houses. Gulshan Kumar, an Indian, said: "I think the raids are almost over."

    Ahsan Al Haq, a Bangladeshi resident of Buraimi, said it was a sudden operation and its main thrust was in the Wadi Al Jazai and Mahdha areas. Security agencies are still patrolling those areas.

    He said: "Many illegal immigrants enter Buraimi and then the UAE from these two areas. They come by boat from Iran and Pakistan."

    He said Wadi Al Jazai and Mahdha areas are mountainous, and infiltrators easily evade the security checkposts located on the main Buraimi-Muscat highway to reach Buraimi and then go on to the UAE.

    Idris Ahmad, another Pakistani, said expatriates who were on UAE visas were also arrested during the raids. "I don't know what has happened to them," he said, when asked whether they were released.

    A large number of Pashtuns, who were living in Eastern Sanaiya (industrial area) of Al Ain, moved to Buraimi after their illegally constructed shacks and huts were demolished in April by the UAE authorities. Most of them were staying in Eastern Sanaiya illegally.

    Community sources said the Pashtuns were worried about the latest crackdown, and many have gone into hiding in Buraimi.

    The UAE authorities have also been taking steps to restrict the movement of expatriates on Omani visas and illegal immigrants from Oman.


    10 infiltrators held in three days

    The Armed Forces Frontier Guards arrested 10 infiltrators of various nationalities over the last three days.

    The infiltrators, who were arrested while they were trying to enter the country illegally, have been detained pending trial. The move is part of a national campaign to put an end to the phenomenon.

    - WAM



    __________________________________________


    8.

    Local News

    Web posted on July 26, 2004 at 9:30:00 AM CET
    25 illegal Somali immigrants rescued five miles off Delimara
    -
    The Armed Forces of Malta were yesterday called into action to rescue 25 illegal immigrants aboard a five-metre boat.

    The vessel was in distress after springing a leak and was spotted some five miles south of Delimara.

    The AFM vessel was on a routine patrol mission to the south of the island when the craft was spotted at around 4.15am. The boat was in distress and in imminent danger of sinking as it was taking on water with 17 men and eight women aboard. The wooden boat – not more than five metres long – was steaming north, sources said, when for some reason the vessel seemed to have sprang a leak, probably because of the stress placed on it by the overload of passengers.

    AFM officers helped the passengers aboard the patrol vessel and after a preliminary assessment of their health condition, took them to Hay Wharf where they were then handed over to police officers from the immigration section, who are investigating the matter. Verifications are still pending, however it seems that the immigrants are Somali nationals.

    Officials from the Health Department were called in to give the immigrants a medical test, following which they were taken to the Safi barracks were they will be detained, pending further proceedings. Their health condition is said to be good.

    _____________________________________


    9.

    Turkey Detains 137 Illegal Immigrants Trying To Sail To Greece
    AFP: 7/28/2004
    ANKARA, July 28 (AFP) - Turkish paramilitary troops on Wednesday detained 137 would-be immigrants from Asian and African countries as they attempted to sail from the country's western coast to the nearby Greek island of Samos, a local source said.
    Acting on a tip-off, troops stopped the immigrants from Azerbaijan, Mauritania, Algeria, Afghanistan and Somalia shortly after they set off from near Didim, on the Aegean coast, aboard a Turkish fishing vessel, the source told AFP on condition of anonymity.
    The ship was seized and three Turks suspected of transporting the immigrants to the coast by truck were arrested.
    "The captain and the crew of the ship escaped, but we know who the owner of the ship is and we will catch them as well," the source said.
    Turkey lies on a major route for people-smuggling from Asia to western Europe, and illegal migrants are detained almost on a daily basis.



    ________________________________________


    10.

    Spielberg spins the tale of the prisoner of Paris airport

    Amelia Gentleman
    Tuesday July 27, 2004
    The Guardian

    Merhan Karimi Nasseri is not sure whether he will manage to attend the Paris premiere of Steven Spielberg's latest film, The Terminal, which was inspired by his life. If he abandons the corner of Charles de Gaulle airport where he has lived for the past 16 years for long enough to travel into the capital for the ceremony, airport security will blow up his belongings.
    Instead, he has the consolation of around $300,000, (£163,000) which was recently paid by Spielberg's Dreamworks production company into the account he holds in the airport post office, a few steps away from the red plastic bench which has served as his home since 1988.
    He will earn further royalties as payment for allowing his extraordinary life as a long-term stateless refugee to be reworked as fiction, if the film, which comes out in Britain in September, is a success.
    But despite his windfall, Mr Nasseri says: "I don't spend more than few euros a day. I eat breakfast in McDonald's and buy a few newspapers. I'm saving the rest for when I leave here."
    Mr Nasseri, who insists on being called Sir Alfred Merhan, hopes that the movie will draw attention to his plight, but he may have trouble recognising his story in the predictably saccharine-coated Hollywood version, which stars Tom Hanks and has Catherine Zeta-Jones as the air hostess love interest.
    Mr Nasseri first made his home at the airport in August 1988. Still paperless and very muddled, he refuses to leave, even though his lawyers have a solution to the legal and bureaucratic tangle.
    "It's a sort of marginal life I lead," he said yesterday. "Not many people speak to me. Sometimes I go for a month without talking to anyone."
    The precise details of his life remain unclear: even his age, believed to be 59, is not confirmed, and as he becomes more mentally frail, his version of the facts has shifted dramatically. Probably born in 1945 in Iran, Mr Nasseri was educated at Bradford University, and participated in protests against the shah in the 1970s, which led to his expulsion from Iran when he returned in 1976.
    It seems Britain refused him political asylum; the fact that his mother was Scottish made no difference to his case. He was imprisoned in Belgium for four months in 1988 as an illegal immigrant after his refugee papers were stolen, before being taken to the Paris airport for expulsion to Iran. Fearing possible persecution, he declared himself stateless, and has remained in the terminal ever since.
    Two airport trolleys mark out his patch of space. Three suits, packed in plastic dry-cleaning bags, hang from one. Lufthansa cardboard boxes, filled with personal belongings, are piled up on the other, next to a jumble of suitcases and plastic bags. Towels are draped out to dry behind the bench, which backs on to a specular vista of the airport's internal courtyard.
    Armed airport guards pace past but pay him no attention. He is constantly tired because in order to sleep he has to curve his body at an uncomfortable angle in line with the crescent shape of his bench; he uses earplugs to block out the incessant public announcements.
    Despite the difficulties, he is fastidiously clean and looks much like any other air traveller. His Lacoste jacket was bought in the shop opposite, where the staff occasionally wash his clothes for him.
    He gets up at 5am to wash in the public toilets. "If I go later, it's crowded with tourists and not very private," he said.
    He spends the day listening to the radio, reading books (this week he started on Bill Clinton's life) and writing his diary, which is being turned into an autobiography by an English ghostwriter. He receives post from travellers who have tried to befriend him and he takes the occasional phone call in the shops nearby.
    It is not clear whether he ever will leave. In 1999, the French authorities granted him a temporary residency permit and a refugee's passport, giving him a way out. But he refused to sign the necessary papers, contesting his surname and that he was born in Iran.
    "This was when I realised he had lost his grip on reality," Christian Bourguet, the lawyer who championed his case, said. "He can't do anything until he signs the papers, and he won't."
    In the pharmacy opposite, Martin Youenang, who has observed Mr Nasseri for 10 years, said he would need psychiatric support to return to society. "He is a very solitary man, who has grown accustomed to his life here.
    "It would take a lot of courage to leave and I'm not sure how he would cope in the real world."


    _____________________________________


    11. [This one's cracked me up ]

    Deported man boomerangs
    20/05/2004 13:49 - (SA)


    Sydney, Australia - An asylum seeker deported from Australia to Africa ended his journey back where he started, a Sydney newspaper reported on Thursday, following a 17-flight, A$24 000 Australian dollar (about R113 000) trip.

    Idris Abdulrahman's three-year quest for refugee status in Australia was rejected last year and in December he was sent on a plane, with two escorts, to Tanzania via South Africa.

    Sudanese officials in Tanzania checked his Australian government-issued identity papers but refused to allow Abdulrahman - who was born in Kuwait to Sudanese parents - to enter Sudan.

    Since Abdulrahman was refused entry, and Tanzania didn't want him, Australia was forced to take him back.

    The voyage took two weeks, during which Abdulrahman was detained at both the South African and Tanzanian airports, involving five guards and 17 flights over a distance of 24 000km, Sydney's Daily Telegraph reported on Thursday.

    Upon his return to Australia, Abdulrahman was sent to a detention center in South Australia, where he is being held at a cost of A$310 a day, the Telegraph said.

    He has reapplied for a temporary refugee visa, his lawyer told the Telegraph.

    Immigration Minister Amanda Vanstone did not immediately return calls for comment.

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