Credibility of visa over-stayer numbers borderline

11 December 2018

The Government’s Department of Immigration and Border Protection has a vital job to do and that’s to save Aussie jobs being taken by visa overstayers working here illegally. The basics are knowing exactly how many of those people have over-stayed their welcome. It’s certainly not a welcome that would be extended by Australia’s unemployed.

Despite the benefit of a data matching protection scheme to safeguard Australian jobs, looking at the number of over-stayed visas since 2016 until June 2018, it appears the Government still can’t figure it out.  Apparently, nothing much has changed.

In 2016 the Department admitted there was about 64,600 culprits with over 17,000 of them having lived in Australia for 15 years or more. I raised my concerns and thought at the time how unacceptable it was that of almost 65,000 over-stayers, the Department could only locate under 4,000 of them. Go figure.

In 2017, after questioning the Department again on this low priority issue it seems, conveniently the same number of people, around 64,000 were counted as visa over-stayers. Overhauling the 457 visa scheme to protect Aussie jobs was a step in the right direction, but 20,000 visa over-stayers still continued to work almost unchecked. That didn’t work for me then and my concerns about employment theft remain unchanged.

When I questioned the Department at Senate Estimates recently for a current update on the over-stayer numbers, their answer didn’t stack up. This is what they said.

“The Department of Home Affairs (the Department) estimated there were 62,900 unlawful non-citizens (UNCs) (often referred to as over-stayers) in Australia as at 30 June 2018. In the previous year, as at 30 June 2017, the Department estimated that there were 62,900 UNCS.”

One thing is definite. My Centre Alliance colleagues and I will be keeping check on this issue to protect the livelihoods of all Australians.

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