20,000 violate visa rules in Australia in 2003-4

13 June 2005

Australian Immigration officials picked up 20,000 people who had overstayed their visas or breached their visa conditions in 2003-04, new figures reveal.

The figures were part of a report released by Immigration Minister Amanda Vanstone, who said compliance officers had located 20,000 people who overstayed, worked illegally or otherwise abused the terms of their entry.

She said immigration officials had also been active at the other end of the process, refusing entry to more than 1,200 people at Australian airports in 2003-04.

In addition, 223 people who lacked proper authority to travel to Australia were stopped at airports overseas by liaison officers.

"These results demonstrate the effectiveness of Australia's layered border security," Senator Vanstone said in a statement.

She said about 310,000 names are now on Australia's immigration alert list, which includes people who may have serious criminal records, present a risk to community or are the subject of migration bans.