A community outreach programme was held in the Cua Lo township of central Nghe An province on June 26 to raise awareness of unsanctioned water migration and deter them from risking their lives to sail for Australia – a popular destination for local illegal immigrants.

The programme was among a series of activities preventing irregular migration to Australia conducted by the Nghe An Border Guard High Command and the International Organisation for Migration since 2014.

Through consultations, plays, quiz games and film screenings, the function aimed to provide local people with useful information such as Australia’s immigration regulations and consequences awaiting illegal water immigrants, ultimately helping them make informed decisions and avoid falling for swindlers’ tricks.

Recently, swindlers have taken advantage of poverty, job demand and low awareness to trick locals into working in Australia for profits.

Since Australia and Vietnam haven’t set up a labour cooperation, some Vietnamese citizens have tried to remain in Australia after entering the country through legal channels such as travelling, studying and attending trade fairs.

Many others paid huge sums of money to swindlers to travel to Australia by boat.

A number of risks and dangers face illegal immigrants such as starvation and being beaten and exploited, some have even lost their lives at sea. Almost all illegal immigrants have been detained and ultimately deported back to Vietnam.

Relevant agencies’ reports show that many residents of Cua Lo township and Nghi Loc district illicitly entered Australia, and Nghe An is home to the largest number of immigrants among provinces nationwide – up to 90 percent of those who have been deported back to Vietnam.

In April 2015, 46 Vietnamese nationals were found struggling to reach Australia by boat and then were forced to repatriate.

Since 2010, Nghe An province has brought six illegal migration cases to trial involving 10 defendants suspected of organising unlawful migrations to Australia for more than 70 people.

Provincial relevant departments have also worked with police forces in southern Ba Ria-Vung Tau province and Ho Chi Minh City to handle dozens of cases involving nearly 300 immigrants to the southern hemisphere country.-VNA