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Older people in Australia may forget the need to renew their visa



Older people who have stayed in Australia for many years may actually be illegal immigrants as they forget to renew their visas because they regard themselves as Australians, it is claimed.Immigration News

Older people who have stayed in Australia for many years may actually be illegal immigrants as they forget to renew their visas because they regard themselves as Australians, it is claimed.

Some could have been living in the country for 20 years or more and are a well-established part of their community, but unless they have undertaken Australian citizenship then they still need an up to date visa.

Overall, the latest estimated data suggest that more than 62,000 people are living illegally in Australia. According to the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP), around 62,100 people were unaccounted for in Australia in 2014.

Formal data from 2012/2013 showed that visa holders from China, Malaysia and the United States were the highest number of over stayers in Australia in 2013, with the Chinese topping the list at 7,690, followed by Malaysia with 6,420, the US at 5,220 and the UK at 3,780.

Of these, some 44,800 were on visitor visas and 10,720 were students, and overall, over stayers amounted to 1.2% of the 5.5 million people who enter the country each year on visas.

The Australian government is becoming increasingly tough on visa over stayers and warned that they will be deported and banned from returning to Australia for up to three years.

While many of them may be students, according to migration agents, they could be people who have forgotten they need a visa. The Migration Institute of Australia has suggested that they should be treated realistically.

"Traditionally the highest number of the unlawfuls have come from the USA and the UK. A lot of them think they are Australian, and they get a bit confused. Some of these people might have been here for a very long period of time," said Angela Chan, national president of the Migration Institute of Australia.

"They may have been here for 20 years and you know, have just forgotten to do something about their visas. And they have now become a substantial part of the community, they are employed and they have connections here," she added.

The Migration Institute of Australia wants more resources to be put into tracking down over stayers, but a DIBP spokesman said people found with expired visas could be detained and removed if located by the department in the community and face a three year re-entry ban.

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