(File pix) Malaysians are the worst visa abusers when it comes to overstaying in Australia. The Age/SAYS.COM Photo

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysians are the worst visa abusers when it comes to overstaying in Australia.

There are currently 62,000 people overstaying their visas and living illegally in Australia, with Malaysians making up the largest sum.

According to the Australian Department of Home Affairs, between 2016 and 2017 alone, 10,000 Malaysians had overstayed, followed by about 6,500 people from China and 5,000 from the US. British backpackers had previously topped the list.

Between 2016 and 2017, the Department of Home Affairs kicked out or placed under detention 15,885 people who had overstayed their visas

Overstayers can often face deportation, detention, and bans from re-entering Australia for a minimum period of three years.

Australian Immigration authorities said more than two thirds of the total figure came to Australia on legal visas, but continued to live on for more than two years after their visas expired

It was reported that 20,000 of the total number were believed to be have been working.

More than 70 per cent were there on expired visitor visas, while 15 per cent were on student visas, and working holiday visas made up about 3 per cent.

The total amount of people who overstayed reportedly increased 6 per cent compared with five years ago.

In an interview with Australian news portal SBS News, a 28-year-old Malaysian revealed what it is like to remain in the country without a valid visa

Ramesh (not his real name) told the news portal that he barely leaves home except to go to work and is constantly living life on edge, especially when he finds himself around the police.

"I get nervous, I get scared, like, you know… traumatised," he said.

He went to Australia on a three-month tourist visa last year. A family friend promised that she could offer him a working visa for A$2,000 (RM6,077).

Unfortunately, it did not pan out.

As his three-month stay came to an end, he tried to extend it, but was unsuccessful. He decided to remain in Australia illegally, with or without the visa.

However, Ramesh plans to head home after he has settled his personal debts, especially in paying off the money for the initial visa he never received

Ramesh, who desperately wants to get out of the rut he is in, has been living in Australia for a year now.

He has a job doing car detailing during the week, where he is paid cash-in-hand by a boss who does not know he is living there illegally. He also does odd jobs on the weekends to make ends meet.

Before leaving the country, Ramesh intends to go to the Malaysian embassy to hand himself in instead of getting caught at the airport. Having learnt his lesson, he advises others to avoid making the same mistakes.

"Try to get information from the officials like the embassy or immigration (Department of Home Affairs), rather than jump into something you don't know. Rather than being illegal, being afraid," he added. – SAYS.COM

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