Asylum seekers required to follow government's new code of conduct

Asylum seekers required to follow government's new code of conduct

Asylum seekers required to follow government's new code of conduct

Updated 17 December 2013, 0:10 AEDT

The Australian Government introduces a code of conduct for asylum seekers living in the country on bridging visas.

The Australian Government has introduced a code of conduct for asylum seekers living in the country on bridging visas.

The code requires that asylum seekers obey all Australian laws, not harass, bully or intimidate others and comply with all official health and immigration requests.

The rules were quietly ushered in last week and came into effect on Saturday.

Asylum seekers must sign an agreement saying they will follow the code in order to qualify to live on bridging visas in the community.

If they breach the code, it could result in transferral to either onshore or offshore immigration detention, income support reduction, or visa cancellation.

Ahead of September's federal election, Immigration Minister Scott Morrison promised the Government would bring in a code of behaviour, followings concerns asylum seekers on bridging visas were allegedly committing criminal offences.

The minister can now also provide personal details of bridging visa holders to federal and state police, including the details of where they live.

Rules already in place

Refugee advocates say the code adds nothing new to the conditions already imposed on asylum seekers.

Pamela Kerr from the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre says the code is just political manoeuvring.

"This new code of conduct is just more shock and awe to try and frighten people," she said.

"I've sat through briefings for people who were released from detention six months ago, and those conditions were read out in no uncertain terms."

Others have criticised the code as nothing more than a political statement.

Refugee Council chief executive, Paul Power, says the conditions outlined in the code apply to everyone in the country.

"I think it's unnecessary and it's all politics," he said.

"The code of conduct essentially outlines aspects of Australian law which apply to everybody in the country.

"Everyone in this country could or should sign a code of behaviour but the idea that it's only necessary for asylum seekers to do so really is an unnecessary slur on the character of people."