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Visa overstayers fall under Australia's radar

Visa overstayers fall under Australia's radar

Visa overstayers are becoming a growing problem across Australia, with new figures showing that as many as 70 people per week slip through the net.

As migration consultants will be aware, these are individuals who have entered the country legally but have failed to leave once their visas have expired.

Figures obtained by News Corporation show that the number of visitors from India who are remaining in the country unlawfully has increased by 780.

This situation may hardly be surprising, as India was recently named by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship as Australia's largest source of migrants.

In 2011-12, Indian migrants accounted for 20,018 places or 15.7 per cent of the total migration program, making it the first time the country came out in top position.

Meanwhile, the number of Malaysian overstayers has increased by 620, while China has 340 more citizens living unlawfully in the country and Nepal has 320.

Other nations with significant amounts of overstayers include the UK, Tonga and Korea.

As of December 31 2011, 59,430 people were living in Australia without the necessary visas, up from 55,900 compared to the previous year.

Over the past five years alone, the statistics obtained by News Corp indicated that the amount of visa overstayers has climbed by around 10,000.

A breakdown of the figures highlights that the authorities are currently searching for 7,930 Chinese, 5,090 Americans, 4,640 Malaysians and 3,650 British.

One theory behind the rise in visa overstayers could be the complexity of regulations people need to conform to when they apply for immigration visas.

A recent report in The Australian revealed that Taleb Rifai explained to a tourism conference in Melbourne that the current system is "a real nightmare".

The UN World Tourism Organisation's secretary-general said that people come across all sorts of red tape when they try to obtain visas to enter the country for whatever reason - including for leisure purposes.

Mr Rifai identified that residents of China and India are among those who face the most bureaucratic obstacles when they want to enter Australia, with many of them failing to obtain the necessary paperwork.

Many of them are asked to provide financial information including bank statements when they first enter Australia, as well as a letter from their employer stating their salary and job title.

In some situations, they may also need to prove their employment history.


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