11 October 2011

Egyptians eligible for Australia visa extension

Australian immigration officials have flagged the possibility of extending visas for Egyptians that may be at risk of violence.

Australia Visa

Egyptians in Australia may be eligible for visa extensions due to political unrest and violence between religious groups in Egypt.

Australian Immigration Minister Chris Bowen said that Australia would respond sympathetically to applications for Australia visa extensions by Egyptian nationals following reports of unrest between ethnic and religious groups in Cairo. 

"In light of the unfolding situation in Egypt, I want to assure Egyptians in Australia that my department will take the circumstances in their home country into account when dealing with requests for visa extensions," Mr Bowen said in a ministerial statement issued today.

This week, 25 people died in the Egyptian capital and members of the Coptic Christian community clashed with Muslim neighbours during religious demonstrations. The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) has updated its travel advice for Australian citizens travelling to Egypt.

"We advise you to reconsider your need to travel to Egypt due to the unsettled security situation and the high threat of terrorist attack," DFAT says on its 'smart traveller' website.

"There has been an increase in sectarian tensions in Egypt during 2011. These tensions have resulted in violent clashes. On 9 October 2011 demonstrations by Coptic protestors became violent resulting in at least 25 dead. Australians should be aware that Islamist extremists have made threats against Coptic churches in Egypt."

Egyptian nationals in Australia that have been granted temporary Australian visas or are due to fly home soon are urged to contact the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC). It is also recommended that prospective Australian travellers to Egypt also keep close contact with government officials.

Australian Visa Bureau is an independent immigration consultancy that specialises in helping people lodge applications with the Australian High Commission.

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