KUALA LUMPUR — A Malaysian who says he worked without permit and visa in Australia has exposed foreigners who are exploiting protection visas in the country.
He overstayed, spending more than a year working around Australia before returning home to his wife and children.
Nazuan Apis says he was offered a way to extend his stay while working at Robinvale, in north west Victoria in 2016, says an Aussie newspaper.
Nazuan arrived in Australia on a three-month online tourist visa but picked up seasonal farm work when a Malaysian work agent offered him to take up a protection visa.
The story of the abuse of protection visas came to light after the ABC reported last week of what it called the “orchestrated scam” of Malaysians arriving in Australia on a tourist visa then staying for years while seeking a protection visa.
— theSun (@theSundaily) July 8, 2019
Last week, Malaysia’s deputy Foreign Minister Marzuki Yahya told Malaysia’s Parliament Malaysians received “light punishment” for breaching visa conditions in Australia, given they were flown back without being charged for the flight.
Australia’s immigration policies it is said, includes free flights home for people who overstay their visa.
According to the Malaysian government, this have contributed to a rise of Malaysians rorting the local visa system.
A protection visa allows foreigners to remain in Australia permanently so long as they arrived in the country on a valid visa but applicants must be a refugee or meet the complementary protection criteria.
Nazuan said he and 15 of his Malaysian housemates applied for protection through the same agent and all they had to do is fill in the form and get local police authorise it.
In 2018, approximately 10,000 electronic visa holders had overstayed their visa in Australia and three quarters were from Malaysia.
Jason Wood, the new Minister for Multicultural Affairs, speaking in February said the Malaysian visitors were making a bid to work around existing visa laws.
“This represents an orchestrated scam that provides protection visa applicants the right to work in Australia until their claims are finalised.”
A parliamentary committee recommended that electronic visa holders who lodged a protection visa application be “fast-tracked” and have limited rights to appeal.
UK politician and leading candidate to be next British PM Boris Johnson praised Australia’s points-based immigration system while US President Donald Trump tweeted his admiration of Australia’s border policies.
Netizens on Twitter are saying the Malaysian informant wrecked the chances for other Malaysians to overstay, work and obtain a protection visa in Aussie land.