18 December 2008
Homeless World Cup players reaching Australian visa deadline
Nearly 60 players attending the Homeless World Cup in Melbourne are approaching the expiry date of their Australian visas, reports SBS World News Australia.
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.
The Department of Immigration and Citizenship has so far received 24 applications for further Australian visas from players in the tournament, although it expects 40-50 applications for asylum.
The Department confirmed on Wednesday that 380 of the 440 players and officials have already returned to their countries.
During their stay, 46 attendees requested crisis accommodation at the homeless service HomeGround, and HomeGround chief executive Stephen Nash said the group has been accommodated in Melbourne's west.
"Keeping people together allows them to provide support to each other as they go through a difficult period in their lives and await the outcomes of their applications for asylum," he said.
"The asylum seeker group has also received a lot of support from members of the community. We are all now working on the next step to ensure people have a longer-term plan for accommodation and support services."
Reports claim those seeking asylum have primarily come from Zimbabwe, Afghanistan, Rwanda and Liberia.
Most of the temporary Australian visas held by the Cup participants are due to expire on the weekend.
The Australian Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in helping people with emigrating to Australia.
Article by Jessica Bird, Australian Visa Bureau.