18 November 2019 I Immigration authorities have detained at least two Nepalese citizens in recent weeks after they were suspected of exploiting loopholes of the Australian tourist visa system. Sources say both had their tourist visas cancelled upon their arrival at Sydney Airport and were subsequently transferred to Villawood Detention Centre in western Sydney.
The Nepalese nationals were busted as they arrived back in the country following a very brief stay in Bali. According to sources, they were rendered “unlawful non-citizens” after immigration officials discovered they were trying to rort their tourist visas by briefly exiting the country only to re-enter Australia, and most probably work, for another three months.
Investigation of their mobile phones and documents apparently indicated that their intention was not to “visit” Australia but to work, sources further added.
A member of the Nepalese diaspora and Australian solicitor, Bharat Pokharel, suspects there may well be many more similar immigration detentions given all sorts of innuendoes in the community around Australian tourist visa misuse.
The Sydney-based lawyer worries people back in Nepal may have been fed wrong information and notion about Australian tourist visa. He said there are rumours some are paying as high as $10,000 just to have a tourist visa allowing entry into Australia.
“This trend is very worrying. People back home must understand that you cannot legally work in Australia with a tourist visa and any attempt at gaming the system is wrong and immoral,” the lawyer cum Nepalese community leader warned.
The first of these two detentions of Nepalese nationals occured some two weeks ago while the latest took place last Thursday.
Mr Pokharel said immigration officials would naturally be interested to know your real intentions if you exited the country, spent a day or two in Bali without any tourist-like activities and returned to Australia.
If you not a genuine visitor, even appealing the decision of the Department of Home Affairs and going through the Australian Administrative Tribunal and the court system are not an advisable option for unlawful non-citizens as legal expenses and court fees, if you lost the case, could amount to tens of thousands of dollars, Mr Pokharel reminded.