Indians Among 200 People Seeking Asylum in Australia After Commonwealth Games: Report
As many as 8,103 people arrived on temporary visas for the Commonwealth Games, and 7,848 have left Australia, a Senate committee was told.
The Australian government is looking for 50 persons who stayed on illegally in the country after the Commonwealth Games, while about 200 others, including Indians and Pakistanis, are seeking asylum, IANS reported.
About 13,600 visas were issued to athletes, team officials and others for the mega sports event that took place at Gold Coast in April this year, Australian website 9News reported. As many as 8,103 people arrived on the temporary visas, and 7,848 have left the country, with the stay expiring on May 15, a Senate committee was told on May 21.
Of the 255 people who have remained in Australia, 205 people are legally in the community on bridging visas as their applications for other categories of visas are pending approval.
“Most of those have applied for protection visas,” Home Affairs Deputy Secretary Malisa Golightly told the parliament in Canberra on May 21. Those who apply for temporary protection visas are given bridging visas, which make them eligible to stay in Australia while their claims are processed. The temporary protection visa allows a person to stay in Australia for up to three years and receive welfare benefits.
Most of these foreigners seeking asylum in Australia belong to strife-torn countries in Africa, such as Sierra Leone, Ghana and Nigeria, Xinhua news agency reported. However, some members of the Indian and Pakistani teams have also remained in Australia, the report added. It was earlier reported that 11 participants in the Commonwealth Games had not returned to their home country — five boxers and three wrestlers from Cameroon, two athletes from Uganda, and a powerlifting coach from Rwanda.
“Anybody that is onshore can apply for protection legally once they are here, but of course then they are considered against … the criteria for that visa,” Golightly said.
While 190 people sought protection visas, which is assigned to refugees in the country, 15 others have applied for other types of visas, Australia’s Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton told reporters on May 22, Reuters reported. The government has launched an operation to look for the other 50 missing people, and “take them into immigration detention and eventually to deport them,” the report cited Dutton as saying.
“The Australian public won’t be taken for a ride,” he said. “We aren’t going to tolerate people that come here on visas that have been issued in good faith and then take advantage of our system.”
He also said that the other 190 people who have applied for asylum are “just trying it on,” and that they should “consider their position very carefully as well because we are not going to be taken for a ride and we are going to have to look very closely at individual applications.”
Ahead of the Commonwealth Games, one Indian man was charged with people smuggling and falsifying documents after eight other Indians were arrested at the Brisbane airport by the Australian Border Force (ABF) on March 28. Eight of them were allegedly carrying fake foreign media credentials for the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.