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Options for overstaying your Australian visa

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Recent figures from the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) indicate more than 64,000 people are in Australia illegally after overstaying work and tourist visas, with the Federal government estimating as many as 12,000 have been here for more than 20 years.

There were nearly 10,000 Malaysians recorded as having overstayed visas in 2016-17, along with about 6,500 Chinese nationals and 5,170 from the United States. Countries outside the top 15 most likely to overstay represented nearly 18,000 in the category. About 3,700 UK nationals overstayed, ahead of 2,780 Indonesians and 2,730 Indians.

Most of these people who have overstayed their visa traveled to Australia by air and were originally on a tourist visa.

Many people believe that if you overstay your visa and you are located you will be detained. In fact, that is not the case unless you have been charged or convicted of a serious criminal offence. The Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) generally does not detain people if they work towards finalising their immigration status.

The Community Status Resolution Service which is a division of the Department of Immigration and Border Protection gives people living or working unlawfully in Australia the chance to re-engage and resolve their immigration status. This approach is provided as an alternative to immigration detention. In most instances, you will be granted a bridging visa whilst you matter is being resolved.

What are the options for someone overstaying a visa?

If you have overstayed your visa for less than 28 days you may be able to apply to remain in Australia because of your relationship with an Australian citizen or permanent resident subject to meeting certain other criteria.

If you have overstayed your visa for more than 28 days after it expired, any future application for an Australian visa will generally be subject to an exclusion period of three years. If you have any debts to the Commonwealth you will have to make sure they are paid before you can apply for another visa.

If you become an unlawful non-citizen it is important that you get immigration advice at an early stage. Our team has extensive experience in assisting people who have overstayed their visas and become unlawful non-citizens.

Please contact our team today to discuss your migration options should you have overstayed your Australian visa.


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