Illegal maritime arrivals (IMAs)
There are approximately 30,500 people in Australia who arrived illegally by boat before 1 January 2014. People who arrived illegally by boat are referred to as illegal maritime arrivals, or IMAs.
The Australian Government has started inviting people in Australia who arrived illegally by boat before 1 January 2014 to apply for a protection visa.
It will take a long time to process visa applications for all of the illegal maritime arrivals in Australia. People will be gradually invited to apply, generally in the order they arrived. People need to wait to receive an invitation before they can apply.
The Australian Government’s Operation Sovereign Borders policy to manage IMAs has not changed. Any people smuggling boat trying to enter or travel through Australian waters will be detected, intercepted and safely removed. Australia will not grant a visa to anyone who tries to travel illegally by boat to Australia after 1 January 2014. The rules apply to everyone: families, children, unaccompanied children, educated and skilled.
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