24 October 2008

Few World Youth Day visitors overstay Australian visas

Concerns from the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) that World Youth Day visitors would overstay their Australian holiday visas have been relatively allayed, reports news.com.au, while 186 have applied for asylum in Australia.

DIAC officials said that nearly 200 pilgrims who came to Australia on an Australia holiday visa had applied for asylum by the end of September.  Of the 186 protection visas applied for, 11 have been refused and two have been accepted, Andrew Metcalfe, Secretary of DIAC told a Senate estimates hearing this week.

Of the 100,000 pilgrims who arrived in Australia for the World Youth Day celebrations organised by the Pope and Catholic Church, only 31 pilgrims overstayed their Australian visas. 

"A 1 per cent overstay rate against our visa programs is regarded as sort of usual, and the fact that so far we have only had 31 people overstay and 186 apply for protection visas actually show a very good result," said Mr Metcalfe.

The Australian Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in helping people with their Australian visa application.

Article by Jessica Bird, Australian Visa Bureau.

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