25 April 2006

Commonwealth athletes reminded to leave Australia

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The Australian immigration department has issued a gentle reminder to international Commonwealth Games athletes to leave the country by Wednesday.

Over 10,000 special authority visas were issued for athletes and officials to enter Australia for the Games in Melbourne last month. The visas expire tomorrow, 26 April.

More than 600 athletes stayed on in Australia after the competition ended, but the department says most of the athletes have left the country.

Fourteen member of the Sierra Leone team were granted bridging visas to remain in Australian after they were reported missing during the Games.

Anyone visiting Australia, who is not an Australian passport holder, is required to have a visa to enter the country. Australia's Electronic Travel Authority, or ETA, is one of the world's most sophisticated visa issuers. The system issues travel and holiday visas to select foreign nationals online.

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