Refugee Council of Australia
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Home > Get the facts > Is a person who pays people smugglers thousands of dollars a ‘genuine’ refugee?

Is a person who pays people smugglers thousands of dollars a ‘genuine’ refugee?

A person does not have to be poor to be a refugee. A refugee is someone who has a well-founded fear of being persecuted because of their race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion. It makes no difference whether a refugee is rich or poor. History has shown that many rich people (for example, Jewish people during the Holocaust) may be targets for persecution.

For many people, paying someone to get out of a country is the price that must be paid for safety. Tough border policies make it difficult for refugees to leave countries safely. Many families get into debt so that they can send a loved one to safety.

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