The Australian government has declared its Operation Sovereign Borders policy has had a major impact on people smuggling illegal boat arrivals over the past four months.

The policy is highly controversial, as it means any boats will be turned away and not allowed to land in Australia. The government has also stopped providing free immigration advice and assistance to those who arrive illegally.

illegal boat arrivals australia

2013 saw a record number of boats arriving with 47 getting ashore carrying 3,351 people​

'The government's high tempo of activities on our borders and up the chain into our region and in source countries is deterring illegal boat arrivals, even into the post monsoon period which typically sees weather conditions improving off Australia's northwest coast,' said Immigration Minister Scott Morrison.

He revealed that there has not been a successful people-smuggling venture since 19 December last year, whereas under the previous government in the same period there were over 100 boats with more than 6,300 people who arrived illegally.

He said the figures show that last year saw a record number of boats arriving with 47 getting ashore carrying 3,351 people, but there have been none in 2014.

'The government will not be deterred from the strong policies that are stopping the boats, particularly our maritime operations. The government's policy and practice of turning back illegal boats remains in effect. Anyone seeking to enter Australia illegally by boat will be faced with the same policies that those who previously attempted illegal entry met,' explained Morrison.

He also pointed out that anyone who arrives illegally by boat or air will no longer receive taxpayer funded immigration advice and assistance under the Immigration Advice and Application Assistance Scheme (IAAAS,) which will save 100 million dollars.

'Australia's protection obligations do not extend to providing free immigration advice and assistance to those who arrived in Australia illegally. The withdrawal of taxpayer-funded immigration advice and assistance does not prevent those who arrived illegally having access to legal assistance. In addition, those who wish to provide immigration advice and application assistance pro bono are free to do so,' said Morrison.

'Access to any private and/or pro bono immigration advice by illegal boat or air arrivals will be facilitated by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection, with all costs to be met by the providers of these services. If people choose to violate how Australia chooses to run our refugee and humanitarian programme, they should not presume upon the support and assistance that is provided to those who seek to come the right way, and they should certainly not receive additional assistance,' he explained.

'Under these changes the government will provide illegal arrivals clear instructions in multiple languages, setting out the asylum application and assessment process and will provide interpreters. This is similar to the process employed by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees around the world,' he said.

He added that the government will provide a small amount of additional support to those who are considered vulnerable, including unaccompanied minors. The Department of Immigration and Border Protection is currently considering the most effective and efficient way to provide this support.