Over 62,000 People Living in Australia Illegally

People from the United States of America, Malaysia, and China were three of the highest number of visa overstayers in the country back in 2013, with the Chinese at the top of the list at seven thousand six hundred ninety.

According to a report from the Department of Immigration and Border Protection entitled Migration Trends 2012-2013, visitors and students (44,800 and 10,720 in number, respectively) were the biggest cohort of visa holders to overstay their visit. In 2013, the highest number of visa overstayers according to nationality were from the Republic of China with seven thousand six hundred ninety, followed by Malaysia with six thousand four hundred twenty, then the USA with five thousand two hundred twenty, and the United Kingdowm with three thousand seven hundred eighty.

According to the DIBP, there is an estimate of sixty two thousand one hundred who were unaccounted for in Australia during the year of 2014, which is around 1.2 per cent of the 5.5 million who arrive in the country each year holding temporary visas.

According to Ms. Angela Chan, the national president of the Migration Institute of Australia, the Australian government is in great need of more resources so these people can be tracked down. However, she added that the government also needs to maintain a realistic view of what to do with these visa overstayers.

"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," Ms. Chan said. "Some of these people might have been here for a very long period of time."

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

These numbers come as Mr. Peter Dutton, the newly appointed minister for the Department of Immigration and Border Protection, made a promise to crack down on bikie gang members illegally reciding in the country.

Just one day after Mr Dutton was sworn in as the new minister of the Immigration department, he posted on Facebook to let the public know what his priorities are as the incoming minister.

"If you're an illegal bikie, if you're part of an outlaw motorcycle gang involved in organised criminal activity, you've just made it to the top of my list," Mr Dutton on his fan page. "Coming to Australia is a privilege and if you're coming here harming Australians, ripping off our welfare system, committing serious crimes, then you're at the top of my list for deporting."

A spokesman for the department said that people who were found to have expired visas could also be detained and removed should the department in the community locate them. He also said that unlawful non-citizens are facing a re-entry ban of three years.

"Overstaying is addressed by resolving the person's immigration status through their voluntary or involuntary departure, or through the grant of a substantive visa, it they are eligible," said the spokesman. "The reason for the raw increase is it is partially a function of the fact more people than ever are coming to Australia year on year, so it stands to reason that if the very small percentage of non-compliance stays the same, there will be more overstayers in terms of raw numbers."

Source: SMH.com.au

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