An article in The Australian yesterday has raised a very interesting issue regarding Malaysians fraudulently applying for protection visas. This ‘financial loop-hole’ needs to be addressed.
Malaysians seeking higher wages and better living conditions are applying for Australian protection visas in unprecedented numbers because the application process is cheap and there are few penalties involved if their case is refused, a senior Malaysian minister says.
Malaysians now make up the highest number of visa over-stayers in Australia and represent as a nationality the second-highest number of applicants for protection visas in Australia, according to a parliamentary report on the issue.
Three-quarters of the approximately 10,000 electronic visa holders who had overstayed their Australian visas at the end of last year were from Malaysia.
In the nine months from July last year to April this year, the Administrative Appeals Tribunal received 4973 applications from Malaysians seeking protection, Malaysia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Marzuki Yahya said.
“They cited various reasons in their applications, including family stress, racial and religious discrimination and domestic abuse”, though, in reality, most were seeking better living conditions and higher wages, Mr Marzuki told parliament late on Tuesday.
“The world-class education system also attracts our citizens to migrate there and stay longer.’’
Mr Marzuki added that Malaysians had little to lose by applying for a protection visa. It cost less than 100 ringgits ($35) to apply, they could work while the application was considered, and if it was refused they would be flown home at the expense of the Australian government.
Successful applicants for an Australian protection visa must prove they have a well-founded fear of persecution in their own country, and that their civil liberty or life could be at risk if they were to be returned.
Mr Marzuki said few Malaysian applicants could satisfy those requirements given the protection of human rights was enshrined in the country’s constitution.
“The action of Malaysians in applying for protection visas on the pretext that their lives are in danger if they continue to stay in Malaysia is an excuse to stay longer in the country,” he added.
“It is hard for us to control the situation because many of them travel to Australia as tourists and later dispose of their passports before claiming to be refugees.
“However, the ministry will work with the Immigration Department and the Australian authorities to closely monitor the situation.”
Do you believe you are genuinely in danger should you return to your home country? TranQuill Legal can help you legally obtain a protection visa. Contact us today and we will advise you on the best way forward.