The Australian High Commission wishes to clarify comments made in a public statement concerning the handling by the Australian Government of applications by Sri Lankan nationals to travel via Australia to take up judicial positions in Fiji. It is not otherwise our practice to comment on individual immigration cases.
It is not the case that visas were refused to individuals travelling from Sri Lanka to take up judicial positions in Fiji. In fact, a decision had been made to issue visas to enable them to transit Australia. They did not travel through Australia, however, as they withdrew their visa applications, having decided instead to travel to Fiji via Korea.
As a courtesy, the Australian High Commission in Colombo advised these individuals that once they took up their positions in Fiji, they would be subject to Australia’s travel restrictions policy. These individuals were not told that they would not be allowed into Australia for medical treatment for themselves or their families.
Since December 2006, Australia has imposed travel restrictions on those responsible for the coup and on senior appointees of Fiji’s interim government.
The Australian Government has allowed these restrictions to be relaxed on a case-by-case basis, including on compassionate grounds. Although it would be inappropriate for privacy reasons to give more details, exemptions have been granted including for travel to Australia for funerals and treatment for serious medical conditions. Under this policy, travel restrictions are not applied to individuals whose appointments have only been foreshadowed.