Why Is the problem of Asylum Seekers an Issue in Australia – Literature review Example

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The paper “ Why Is the problem of Asylum Seekers an Issue in Australia? ” is a  controversial example of a literature review on sociology. The intricacy of the issues that arise from the inflow of asylum seekers presages significant challenges to Australia, which is a major destination country for asylum seekers and refugees. Australia has, since 1945, after the Second World War, been struggling to find a balance between securing its national borders and providing protection to thousands of displaced populations from other countries. In the face of the long‐term commitment to hosting asylum seekers and refugees, there is ongoing confusion and propaganda that prevail in public, as well as the scholarly debate regarding the implications of asylum seekers in Australia (Parker, 2015).

Scholarly researchers have distinguished two variants of perceived threat: realistic and abstract threat (Phillip, 2012). Realistic threat relates to fears that asylum seekers would ultimately threaten the Australians cordial existence, physical and mental wellbeing, economic power, as well as political power (Schweitzer et al. , 2005). On the other hand, abstract threat relates to the assumption that asylum seekers would ultimately threaten Australian’ s national identity, cultures, and values.

The two threats are sources of ongoing debates regarding the legitimacy of asylum seekers in Australia, which will definitely determine their future in the country. Australia's policies on asylum seekers have been criticized by different stakeholders, including the Human Rights Watch, for being abusive, as well as principally rooted in abstract threat, and called for a review of the policies (Wroe, 2016). This paper examines why the issue of asylum seekers is considered a problem in Australia. An underlying argument is that asylum seekers are perceived to be a problem to Australia, leading to negative social attitudes towards them.

This has in turn influenced policymaking in the country with respect to how the asylum seekers can access resources, certain rights and privileges, and support from the government. Divergence of opinion in defining ‘ asylum seekers’ within the Australian contextAustralia appears to be facing confusion regarding the legal status of asylum seekers. The issue that asylum seekers who enter Australia via boats are not genuine refugees is an ongoing theme in scholarly debate, particularly in Australia. The illegal entry into Australia is usually perceived to be proof that asylum seekers’ claims to seek protection in a host country are unmerited.

The United Nations, to which Australia is a member state, considers an asylum seeker to be an individual who has departed from his country of origin and has made a formal application to live in a host country, while still waiting for his or her claims to be verified and an application to live in the host country to be considered (Refugee Council, 2016). The ‘ 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees’ further describes an asylum seeker as an individual who seeks protection in the status of a refugee in a foreign country, yet still waiting for his claims to be verified. On the other hand, the Convention defines a refugee as an individual, who on account of a well-founded fear of maltreatment or persecution on account of religion, political opinion, race, or nationality, is outside a country of origin and is incapable, as a result of fear, of staying in that country because of safety concerns.

The Australian Government applies the definition to determine if it is obligated to provide protection to an asylum seeker. When an asylum seeker is determined to be a refugee, the Australian government considers that it is obligated to provide protection under international law and to make sure that the individuals are not forcefully sent to a country where they run the risk of persecution (Refugee Council, 2009).


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