Piume hardly remembers her life in Sri Lanka, but lives in daily fear she will be sent back

Photo Piume

Published 26 March 2024 5:59am

By Pablo Vinales

Source: SBS News

A group of crossbenchers are calling on the immigration minister to provide a resolution for almost 9,000 asylum seekers who arrived in Australia over a decade ago and remain stuck in ‘limbo’.

Key Points

  • Thousands of asylum seekers who arrived in Australia by boat before 2012 have been kept in limbo since then.
  • A group of crossbenchers is demanding the immigration minister resolve the cases and provide permanent pathways.
  • Almost 9,000 asylum seekers are on bridging visas that have been renewed every six months for more than a decade.

Piume Kaneshan’s childhood memories of life back in Sri Lanka are vague, but her perilous voyage to venture beyond its shores is without doubt the clearest.

As a seven-year-old, she, her mother, and sister boarded a boat to flee her country of birth, fearing persecution in the years after its civil war in 2009.

It was an 18-day journey and on day six they ran out of food.

“We were terrified … I really didn’t think we were going to make it. We thought we were going to die and no one’s going to know about it,” she told SBS News.

Piume is one of about 9,000 asylum seekers who arrived in Australia more than a decade ago and are stuck in a system originally designed to ‘fast track’ their refugee claims.

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