Australia says it will deport any asylum-seekers who falsely claim they are refugees from Afghanistan, and the government is already moving to revoke temporary visas issued to 50 people.
Immigration Minister Philip Ruddock says authorities are investigating about 300 people who claim to be from Afghanistan, because evidence has surfaced that some of them are actually from other countries, including Pakistan.
All the asylum-seekers are being given a chance to reply to evidence against them, Mr. Ruddock told reporters today (Monday), but those who cannot satisfactorily establish their Afghan origins will be deported.
A spokesman for the Immigration Minister says some of the 50 people whose visas are being cancelled are Pakistanis posing as Afghans. He adds that others are Afghans who were living in Pakistan before they came to Australia -- and therefore ineligible for asylum.
The nationality issue made headlines in Australia last week, when the government disputed the Afghan origin of a man who escaped from an immigrant detention center and sought asylum at the British consulate in Melbourne.
Ali Bakhtiyari, a father of two, claims to be an Afghan refugee. Australian authorities say he came Pakistan, and thus may face revocation of his temporary Australian protection visa.