Australia’s Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton has warned athletes intending to compete in the upcoming Gold Coast Commonwealth Games that they will face serious punitive measures if caught overstaying their visas following the sporting event
Australia’s Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton has warned athletes intending to compete in the upcoming Gold Coast Commonwealth Games that they will face serious punitive measures if caught overstaying their visas following the sporting event.
The warning comes after several athletes at previous sporting events in Australia breached their visa conditions or applied for asylum.
Australia experienced problems with athletes overstaying their approved visit when hosting the Sydney Olympics in 2000 and Melbourne Commonwealth Games in 2006.
In 2000, 145 visitors overstayed their visa, with 35 applying for asylum, and in 2006 45 participants from Cameroon, Ghana, Nigeria, Sierra Leone and Bangladesh breached visa conditions or applied for protection visas.
Canberra has strict immigration policies designed to deter high numbers seeking refuge in the country.
Hundreds of asylum-seekers trying to reach Australia by boat have been detained in remote Pacific Island camps, and border protection authorities, following the introduction of tougher immigration laws in 2014, have also accelerated the deportation of foreign-born criminals.
Thousands of athletes and support staff are due to attend the Commonwealth Games from April 4-15, 2018.
Minister Dutton said in a statement to Brisbane’s Courier Mail: “Australia's reputation of being tough on border security and cancelling visas of people who don't abide by Australian laws won't be compromised.
“I'm sure the city, the state and the nation will do all we can to make sure they have a fabulous time.
“However, visitors are expected to abide the conditions of their visa and there are penalties for those who do the wrong thing.”
Read More: The Daily Impact on Locals: Australia will host the 2018 Commonwealth Games on its Gold Coast on April 4 to 15, 2018 and has been finalising preparations for the international sporting event