The first of 78 Sri Lankan asylum seekers rescued by the Australian Customs ship Oceanic Viking have left Indonesia, with two granted resettlement in Australia and 13 others likely to be settled in Canada.
The two being granted an Australian visa and who arrived yesterday were "a vulnerable individual and his carer", the Sydney Morning Herald reports. Their identities were not released for reasons of privacy, said a spokesman for Immigration Minister Chris Evans.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees had referred the two to Australia for resettlement and the pair had met the legal requirements for a visa grant under normal immigration processes, the spokesman said.
The 13 others had been processed and referred for possible resettlement in Canada. They were flown to Europe at the weekend to a refugee transit centre there.
"Canada has agreed to consider those with close family links to Canada and who meet Canadian resettlement criteria, including security requirements," Senator Evans's spokesman said.
The US, New Zealand and Norway are also expected to take some of the 78 Tamils, following intense diplomatic lobbying by the government to find homes for them, The Australian reports.
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