Are Australian Border Force officers targeting Saudi Arabian women whom they suspect will apply for asylum? is Australia blocking asylum seeking Saudi Arabian women from entering the down under country?
Four Corners is one of the world’s leading migration specialists that has assisted individuals, small businesses and multinationals since 1996 on immigration to Australia.
According to Four Corners, Saudi Women are on the target list by Australia to refuse entry.
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Four Corners has evidence of at least two young Saudi women who arrived at Sydney Airport in the past two years but were turned back after making their asylum claims clear to Australian officials. Four Corners has also been told that Saudi women who arrive alone at Australian airports are being questioned as to why they are travelling without a male guardian.
At least 80 Saudi women have sought asylum in Australia in recent years, many of them fleeing Saudi Arabia’s oppressive male guardianship laws, which allow their husbands, fathers, brothers, uncles and even sons to strictly control their lives.
Four Corners has spoken to several Saudi women who managed to escape the Middle Eastern kingdom and make it to Australia. All of them remain on bridging visas waiting for their asylum claims to be processed.
Dr. Taleb Al Abdulmohsen, a Saudi political activist living in Germany, was in close contact with Amal a Saudi woman who reached Sydney Airport in November 2017 and described to him what happened to her.
“They suspected she was going to claim asylum. When they said she wasn’t going to be allowed entry and would be returned to Saudi Arabia she did then ask for asylum. But they didn’t let her make that claim,” he said.
Amal messaged Dr Abdulmohsen and told him the Australians had put her in a detention centre and she was not offered a lawyer.
After three days they forced her deportation. She was sent back to South Korea, where she had been in transit on her way to Sydney. The activist heard briefly from Amal once she arrived in Seoul. She told him she was panicked about being stopped by Saudi officials and didn’t know where she was going next. Dr Abdulmohsen says he then lost contact with Amal.
Four Corners can also reveal the case of two Saudi sisters who were blocked from boarding a flight to Sydney from Hong Kong.
On September 6 last year, the sisters were confronted by the Saudi Consul General as they transited through Hong Kong airport, and prevented from boarding their scheduled flight.
The sisters had valid Australian visas and they booked seats on the next Qantas flight, but Four Corners can confirm an Australian Border Force official working in the Hong Kong airport blocked them from boarding that flight after reportedly suspecting they were going to claim asylum.
The Department of Home Affairs cancelled the women’s visas and declined to comment on the case. The young women have now spent the last four months living in hiding in Hong Kong, moving locations several times to avoid their family or Saudi authorities tracking them down.
In early January, Saudi teenager Rahaf Mohammed made global headlines when she locked herself inside a Bangkok airport hotel after she was stopped by Thai immigration officials as she tried to reach Australia.
Rahaf, who was granted asylum in Canada after the UNHCR intervened, told Four Corners she had been warned about the questions Australian Border Force officials would ask her when she arrived.
Australian Border official is routinely asking Saudi woman traveling alone if her male guardian allowed her to travel. They ask for his phone number to call him. They also ask her to give them her cell phone and read her SMS, WhatsApp and other chat messages and emails, searching for signs of asylum intent, and they meticulously search the luggage to find any signs of asylum intent such as school certificates.
Those who do make it past the Border Force officials say they still don’t feel safe in Australia. They say they are being harassed and intimidated by Saudi men living in Australia who are trying to coerce them into returning home.
Four Corners has established that one of those men works for the Saudi Ministry of Interior.