04 February 2005

Australian visa overstayers meet serious consequences

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Fourteen illegal workers and visa overstayers have been located in and around the northern Victorian town of Swan Hill, the Minister for Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs, Senator Amanda Vanstone, said today.

‘Community information led staff from my department to visit several houses in the Swan Hill area on Wednesday,’ Senator Vanstone said. ‘They located 10 illegal workers and four visa overstayers.

‘The success of operations such as these should send a strong message that this government does not tolerate people living and working illegally in this country,’ Senator Vanstone said.

In the 2003-04 financial year the department located over 20,000 people who had overstayed their visas or breached their visa conditions.

’DIMIA officers, sometimes with the help of state police, do make regular visits to workplaces across Australia, including restaurants, farms, shops, offices, factories and brothels, in an effort to detect and locate people who are in the country illegally or who are working illegally, said Andy Harwood, Director, Visa Bureau.

’It’s imperative for visa holders to understand the conditions of their visa and abide by those conditions,’ said Harwood. ‘This is an important reminder to UK nationals looking to obtain visas that the system in Australia is policed carefully. It’s important for visa holders to consult a professional migration agency and understand that circumventing the terms of an Australian visa can have serious consequences.

The 14 illegal workers and Australian visa overstayers are in the Maribyrnong Immigration Detention Centre while arrangements are made for their departure, as required by law. The operation was conducted jointly with the Victorian Police and Australian Taxation Office.

The group, from Malaysia, comprised 11 males and three females. It follows the removal to Kuala Lumpur on Sunday of 47 Malaysians who were located working illegally, mainly in regional Victoria.

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