Last month, the Australian government announced that it would pursue a deal with Malaysia to resettle some Australian-bound asylum seekers. In an email interview, Matthew J. Gibney, an expert in asylum policies at Oxford University, discussed Australia's "Malaysian Solution."
WPR: How would the Australian government's "Malaysian Solution" operate?
Matthew J. Gibney: The "Malaysian Solution" is a deal, initially outlined on May 7, but yet to be finalized, between Australia and Malaysia, under which up to 800 asylum seekers who land in Australian territories would be transferred to Malaysia. In Malaysia, the asylum seekers would be processed for refugee status by the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCR). In return for Malaysia accepting these asylum seekers, Australia would resettle, over a four-year period, some 4,000 refugees currently residing in Malaysia. The specifics of the deal are still evolving as the Australian government attempts to respond to concerns expressed by UNHCR and a range of other groups, but it appears that the asylum seekers given refugee status in Malaysia would be allowed to live "in the community" and would join the end of the very long "queue" for resettlement to Australia. Unaccompanied children will not be automatically exempt from the transfer scheme.