KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysians make up the largest number of visa overstayers in Australia.
Confirming the matter, Deputy Foreign Minister Datuk Marzuki Yahya said Malaysians also made the largest number of applications for both protection visas and refugee status in Australia.
“We have discovered that the people’s personal interests and desire for a better life were among the reasons why this happened,” he said at Dewan Rakyat today.
He said Wisma Putra and the Immigration Department would continue to cooperate with the Australian authorities to monitor cases of applications by Malaysians for protection visas and refugee status.
He said this to an additional question by Datuk Salim Sharif (BN-Jempol) on the recent claim by Australian High Commissioner to Malaysia Andrew Goledzinowski that 33,000 Malaysians were found to have overstayed in Australia more than the 90 days allowed and were applying for refugee visas.
Goledzinowski had said that the number of Malaysians applying for refugee visas included tourists and students who did not want to return home.
The Australian government was also reported to have received 4,973 applications for protection visas from Malaysians between July last year and April this year.
Marzuki said the Australian government had subsequently set up an immigration agency here to monitor and scrutinise visa applications for tourists who wanted to visit the country.
Refugee visas are for those who have been persecuted in their home countries, while protection visas are for those seeking asylum.