| 13.09,12. 12:25 AM |
Asylum seeker cash-in aborted
September 13, 2012
An asylum boat escorted to Christmas Island. Source: The Daily Telegraph
HUNDREDS of families who offered to take asylum seekers into their homes have been excluded from participating or have shelved their offer - including those who tried to cash in on the program.
Executive Director of the Australian Homestay Network David Bycroft said some of the 100 people rejected and the 300 whose offers had stalled had thought they would make money.
Families are paid $130 a week to house asylum seekers under the program introduced by the government in May to alleviate pressure on detention centres.
Mr Bycroft said the network, which normally finds placements for overseas students, had very stringent checking regimes.
"We had people thinking it was going to be a paid-for job," he said. "They were responding to the money opportunity, when they found out about the program they dropped off."
He said the 100 people excluded had either been looking to cash in or had failed online training or a home interview by Homestay Network staff.
But the program was still ahead of schedule with 1000 people to be in Australian homes by Christmas, up from the expected 800.
Numbers are expected to continue to increase despite the imminent reopening of a processing centre in Nauru. The first flight carrying 40-50 asylum seekers is expected to arrive on the Pacific island just south of the equator on Friday.
Mr Bycroft said his organisation had hundreds of families still going through an approvals process but he said they were seeking more candidates. "We are looking for people who have time and want to do this to help a person get a start," he said.
"It is a great option for an Australian, it helps get a person into a job sooner ... they get outcomes that will serve Australia over a long time."