(Thewest.com.au)The Federal Government has announced it will lift immediately a freeze on the processing of claims from Afghan asylum seekers.
The suspension, which has been blamed in part for overcrowding in Australia's detention centres, was imposed by the Government in April and was set to be reviewed next week.
However, Immigration Minister Chris Bowen today said the suspension would be lifted immediately following information from Department of Immigration and the Australian embassy in Kabul
All Afghan asylum seekers affected by the suspension will be provided with access to an Immigration Advice and Application Assistance Scheme agent and assistance in preparing claims.
Mr Bowen said all claims would be assessed on a case-by-case basis by department officials after guidelines were issued.
"The Government is committed to providing protection to those who are found to be genuine refugees, in accordance with Australia's international obligations," he said in a statement.
"Those people who are found not to be refugees will be returned to Afghanistan."
The Government was working closely with the UNHCR and the Afghanistan government to facilitate the safe, sustainable return of unsuccessful asylum seekers, Mr Bowen said.