Overstay visa crackdown likely and athletes are warned not to stay on

by Ray Clancy on January 31, 2018

in Australia

Australia is set to get tough on foreigners who overstay their visas and officials are even warning athletes taking part in the 2018 Commonwealth Games not to stay on.

It comes as figures reveals that there are almost 63,000 people in Australia who have overstayed their visa with the majority being tourists, including backpackers, and 15% students.

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There are concerns that they are staying on to work as they can earn more than if they returned home and it is claimed that some are even having a family amid calls for landlords and childcare centres to be asked to verify visas before letting a home or enrolling a child.

According to an Immigration Department report, seen by the Daily Telegraph newspaper, the balance is in favour of overstayers as not enough is being done to check that they have left the country when their visa expires.

Figures also suggests that some 18,750 people who don’t have a visa have lived in Australia for at least 15 years and a third of them have been in the country for at least a decade. And while it is estimated that a quarter are from Malaysia or China, there are over 5,000 from the United States and 3,600 from the UK.

‘Temporary visitors to Australia are willing to risk remaining illegal as they are making far more money in Australia than they could at home. Even if they are deported, they still see an advantage in having had to opportunity to earn money in Australia,’ the report says.

In a bid to prevent even more staying on after the Commonwealth Games in April Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton has said while everyone is welcome they should also abide by immigration rules.

After the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney 145 athletes breached their visa conditions and after the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne 45 did so.

‘Australia’s reputation of being tough on border security and cancelling visas of people who don’t abide by Australian laws won’t be compromised. I want to say to the half a percent who might be minded to do the wrong thing, that Australia has very tough border protection laws. Visitors are expected to abide the conditions of their visa and there are penalties for those who do the wrong thing,’ Dutton said.

Peter Beattie, chairman of the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games Corporation said athletes and officials have been briefed on visa requirements and checks made to make sure they understand the strict regime that applies in Australia.

‘I don’t think there’s any doubt in anybody’s mind in any team that’s coming to Australia what the visa limitations are and the strict situation that applies in Australia,’ he added.

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