On 16th May 2013, the Australian government passed the Migration Amendment (Unauthorised Maritime Arrivals and Other Measures) Bill 2012 which «excised» the Australian mainland from its migration zone.

Under this legislation, which now awaits Royal Assent, asylum seekers arriving by boat to Australia are now subject to transfer to Nauru or Papua New Guinea for processing and will only have their claims for refugee status assessed in Australia upon the discretion of the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship.

Persons arriving by air however, will not be subject to the same restrictions.

The passsing of this legislation has met with strong criticism, see for example the following statements issued by the Refugee Council of Australia and Amnesty International.

UNHCR has also responded with this strongly worded statement by Director of International Protection, Volker Turk.