Asylum seekers brought to Australia for medical treatment from overseas detention centres will have all assistance removed until they are deported back, the government said Sunday.
Human Services Minister Alan Tudge confirmed media reports that the government was removing all financial assistance such as housing, food and transport from Monday for asylum seekers who had been brought to Australia for medical treatment from Nauru and Manus Island.
"It is consistent with the principle that anybody who arrives by boat to our shores won't be settled in Australia," Tudge told ABC television Sunday.
"They came to Australia for a reason, that reason has now been accomplished and now they need to return. They will be settled elsewhere. That's what this is about."
Rights groups have consistently criticized Australia's practise of sending refugees to offshore detention centres. Around 1,200 people are being held in Australian-run camps on Nauru and Manus Island north of Papua New Guinea.
Fairfax Media said some 100 asylum seekers would be affected by Sunday's decision, adding that it would put them on the street without support until they depart Australia.
A spokesman for Immigration Minister Peter Dutton told the broadcaster ABC the asylum seekers in question were always expected to return to Nauru or Manus once their medical treatment was completed.
"They were brought here temporarily, but refuse to return and take out court injunctions to prevent their removal," the spokesman said, the ABC reported.
"Those whose treatment has been completed will be told the government, the taxpayer, will no longer provide financial assistance."
Opposition immigration spokesman Shayne Neumann said the move was "a new low" for the government as it makes the asylum seekers "destitute and homeless".
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