10 December 2008

Fifteen Homeless World Cup players seek "further visas" for Australia

After the Homeless World Cup in Melbourne last week, the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) confirmed that 15 players applied for further Australian visas, reports AFP.

The Homeless World Cup football tournament, which includes teams from Argentina to Australia, South Africa to Portugal, Cameroon to Brazil, and Germany to England, was played in Melbourne, Australia during the first week of December.

DIAC has confirmed that 15 players who are holders of temporary Australian visas (which are due to run out in 10 days) have applied for further visas.  The Department also declined to divulge further details of these Australian visa applications.

"As of December 9, 15 applications for further visas have been lodged by participants of the Homeless World Cup," a spokesperson told the news provider.

The Herald Sun reported that at least 15 players had applied for asylum in Australia, including seven players from Zimbabwe and eight players from Afghanistan.

More than 400 players from 56 countries applied for Australian visas for the tournament, which are due to expire in 10 days.  The DIAC spokesperson said despite several players missing their flights home (including the entire Liberian woman's football team), no players have impeded the conditions of their temporary Australian visas.

Lord Mayor Robert Doyle said he expected players from developing and strife-torn countries to have applied for different Australian visas while they are in the country.

"We had 56 different nations here, and you have to say this is a very attractive lifestyle and some of these people come from very difficult, war-torn and troubled countries," he told the Herald Sun.

"While we could never condone people overstaying their visas it would be quite overwhelming to come from some of these trouble-spots, these war-torn spots in the world, into beautiful Melbourne."

According to the Herald Sun, the average cost to DIAC for processing and detaining an unauthorised arrival in Australia is about $29,000.

The Australian Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in helping people with emigrating to Australia.

Article by Jessica Bird, Australian Visa Bureau.

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