A 59 year old Indian national man went over to Australia on 30th November 2000 on a visitor visa and his visa expired in 2001, however Mr Singh did not leave Australia when he was supposed to. Mr Singh recently appealed against a visa refusal in the Federal Circuit Court in Sydney. His last visa application was put in for a medical treatment visa in December 2017 as he was suffering from hypertension and anxiety.
Unfortunately for Mr Singh the Department of Home Affairs refused to grant the visa as they found that Mr Singh did not comply with the law and was ‘genuinely’ not intending to stay in Australia for the purpose of which the visa was granted. He challenged the visa refusal in the Administrative Appeals Tribunal however the appeal was refused by the Tribunal as they stated the appeal was filed outside the appeal period of 21 days.
In his challenge to the Tribunal’s decision in the Federal Circuit Court, Mr Singh said that the Tribunal decided his application without giving him an opportunity to present his arguments. However, the Court affirmed the Tribunal’s decision to dismiss Mr Singh’s appeal on the basis that it was submitted after the appeal period had lapsed.
The court also ordered Mr Singh to pay $3,667 in the legal costs of the Department of Home Affairs. This is not an uncommon issue, many migrants tend to remain in Australia without any substantive visa.
A migration agent said “I have had clients who had been living in Australia for ten, twelve, even thirteen years without a substantive, some even as unlawful non-citizens. It’s not entirely uncommon, but you can imagine that life isn’t easy in that situation,”.
There is said to be thousands who are like Mr Singh and have overstayed their visa. A top Australian news report had reported that last year over six thousand peopled overstayed their visa for an average of fifteen to twenty years. The highest nationality of overstayers with over ten thousand over staying their visa was Malaysians followed by China and the US.
Many people continue to live in Australia after the expiry of there visa without informing the authorities, they become ‘unlawful non-citizens’ however those who seek out to resolve their visa status are granted Bridging Visa E which will allow them to stay in the community. Th eDepartment of Home Affairs manage these cases with a risk based approach and when it’s possible non citizens and put into the community.
Those who can’t be guaranteed stay in the community regardless of them being granted the bridging visa E are held in immigration detention. According to the Home Affairs figures, over 28,000 people were on bridging visa E at the end of last year, that was 94 per cent of the people whose visa status was being managed and the remaining six per cent were held in immigration detention.
Mr Singh has said it’s extremely difficult to live life under the radar as its hard to find work so he advises others to always reach out for legal advice.