04 July 2008

Australian crime victims fight to have Mike Tyson's visa for Australia denied

The Crime Victims Support Association (CVSA) is fighting to have Mike Tyson's application for an Australian travel visa rejected. The ex-heavyweight boxer has plans to play in an international poker tournament in Melbourne early next year, but his criminal convictions may hold him back.

The boxer is brushing up on his poker skills with Shane Warne in Las Vegas this week before the $10 million Aussie Millions Poker Championships next January, reports Reuters.  But, the CVSA is working hard to have the convicted rapist's visa for Australia rejected. 

"We seem to have reached a new lowness," Noel McNamara, President of CVSA, told Reuters.  "He is being brought out here to be trotted out as a celebrity, like some kind of Mother Theresa.  It’s an insult."

Tyson was previously convicted of raping an 18 year old beauty pageant contestant, and has served time in jail for other criminal offences including assault and drug use. 

"We don’t think it’s right and we will be urging the Immigration Minister not to let him into the country," McNamara added.

A spokesperson has told Reuters the decision on Tyson's visa is still pending, and that the department is unable to comment.  Last year, Snoop Dogg was also denied a visa for Australia on the grounds of his criminal record.

Under the Migration Act, the Immigration Department reserves the right to reject a visa for Australia if a person is deemed to be of bad character or has criminal convictions.  International visitors are required to apply for an Australian visa using the Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) system, and the Immigration Department use this system to store relevant information on a database for national security reasons.

It is important for all visitors to Australia to apply for an ETA visa online before entering Australia and declare all criminal convictions in the application, including minor offences such as assault or drink driving.

Australia's online visa application service is the most advanced and streamlined visa authorisation system in the world.  Many countries, including the UK, are now reforming their own visa application system to resemble Australia's points-based system. 

Article by Jessica Bird, Australian Visa Bureau

Travellers to Australia can apply online for an ETA visa with the Australian Visa Bureau.


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