The Immigration and Border Protection Agency has confirmed that the agents in charge of registering asylum seekers have been paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to register their people with the agency.
The Government is set to make a major shift in how asylum seekers are registered to begin next year, with an announcement expected to come next week.
The change is expected to mean that asylum seekers who register will not have to go through a lengthy process of securing their status.
It comes as a series of asylum seekers on Manus Island and Nauru have been forced to claim their asylum status in a bid to secure their access to Australia’s system of immigration.
The Immigration Department confirmed the payments in a statement to news.com.au on Friday.
“The department will be taking steps to implement the change,” the statement read.
“This is necessary to ensure that our immigration officers are doing their jobs and doing the right thing.”
The Government says it is looking at how the change will impact asylum seekers in its system.
“In order to be eligible to register and continue to be entitled to the services provided by our immigration agents, the agency must have a minimum number of Australian citizens and permanent residents as a registration agent,” the department said.
The Migration Department also confirmed that it had approved the payment of $300,000 to one of its registration agents.
“We’re very keen that our agents are performing at their best,” Assistant Minister for Immigration and Citizenship Andrew Barr said.
“If there is a need for them to take on additional responsibilities, that’s why we’re taking steps.”
Mr Barr said the move was designed to help the Immigration Department’s registration agents in “dealing with people who are coming in to register”.
“It is vital that they can identify people who might need further assistance and that they have an opportunity to help with that,” he said.
Mr Barr is due to make the announcement at a press conference later in the day.
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