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Sri Lankan Tamils in Australia

The horrific 26-year civil war between the Tamil Tigers and the Sinhalese majority government concluded in 2009 resulting in many Tamils migrating to countries like India, Australia and Canada. At least 100,000 Tamils are thought to have perished during the war's last stages.More than 27,000 Tamils born in Sri Lanka reside in Australia, according to the 2016 census. However, according to reports, Australians who apply for asylum as Tamils have some of the lowest approval percentages. Furthermore, domestic and foreign human rights experts have criticised Australia's stance on Sri Lanka and the security of Tamils.⁣

The history of Sri Lankans seeking asylum in Australia results from their socio-political connections. It can be traced back to one of the most controversial and long-drawn asylum battles of the Murrugappan/Nadesalingam family. The Murugappa family (Priya and Nadesalingam) travelled to Australia in 2012; as a result of unrest due to the Sri-Lankan Civil War and due to fear of persecution by the LTTE (Tamil Tigers).⁣

This prolonged acceptance of the Murrugappan family results from strict administrative and judicial scrutiny, whether by the Federal Court or the High Court of Australia. For example, with the rejection of asylum applications of Priya and Nadesalingam by the Federal Court of Australia in 2018, the Murrugappan family was detained in Melbourne Immigration Transit Accommodation for deportation by the Australian Border Force. However, with the challenge to deportation concerning the legality of the deportations of two Australian-born daughters to Priya and Nadesalingam, the court 2019 stayed the deportation. The family was shifted to the Christmas Island Immigration Reception and Processing Centre.⁣

Finally, in 2022 the Murrugappan family took a sigh of relief as the Australian government finally released them and gave visas to Murrugappan family to live and work at Biloela.⁣

Since May 2022, the Sri Lankan unrest has significantly increased migration to Australia, and many Sri Lankan Tamils have sought asylum in Australia.⁣

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