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More than 200 Commonwealth Games Athletes Seek Asylum in Australia and 50 Go Missing

More than 200 Commonwealth Games athletes and officials remain in Australia after applying for refugee visas, with another 50 staying in the country illegally.

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More than 200 Commonwealth Games athletes and officials remain in Australia after applying for refugee visas, with another 50 staying in the country illegally.

The figures were revealed by Immigration Department officials to a Senate committee hearing on Monday night, reports Xinhua news agency.

A total of 8,103 athletes, media representatives and officials arrived in Australia on temporary visas for the Gold Coast event which concluded on April 15, with 7,848 returning home after their stay expired last week, meaning 255 stayed in the country.

Of those who have remained in Australia, 205 were legally in the community on bridging visas as they await approval to stay on a permanent basis. Border Force officials have commenced a nationwide search for the other 50 who have overstayed their visas.

The majority of foreigners seeking asylum in Australia were from war-torn African nations such as Sierra Leone, Ghana and Nigeria. However some members of the Indian and Pakistani teams have also remained in Australia.

Swimmers. Pixabay

Australia’s Department of Home Affairs deputy secretary, Malisa Golightly, told parliament on Monday night that most of the remaining participants “have applied for protection visas”.

“Anybody that is onshore can apply for protection legally once they are here, but of course then they are considered against … the criteria for that visa,” she said.

The temporary protection visas allow the Commonwealth Games participants to stay in Australia for up to three years and receive welfare benefits.

Peter Dutton, Australia’s Home Affairs Minister, said he was disappointed with the number of people who have stayed illegally as they had been welcomed to Australia “in good faith”.

“Australians hate being taken for a ride by freeloaders,” Dutton told Newscorp Australia on Monday night.

Also Read:Indians Among Top Asylum Seekers in the World: International Migration Outlook 2017 Report

“Australia is now obliged under international law to consider these protection visa applications.”

In comparison, only 45 people extended their visas or sought asylum in Australia after the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games.

–IANS

Next Story

Australia Passes Social Media Law Over Violent Content

The Law Council of Australia said the legislation could have "serious unintended consequences", CNN reported

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Multiple apps are displayed on an iPhone in New York.. VOA

Internet providers and tech giants like Facebook and Google will be compelled to remove violent content in a sweeping new law passed in Australia on Thursday.

Under the new law, which passed both houses of Parliament, obligations will be placed on internet companies to stop the spread of violent material. Failure to do so could see executives face up to three years in jail, or fines of up to 10 per cent of the platform’s annual turnover, reports CNN.

The development comes in the wake of the March 15 Christchurch which was live streamed on social media by the shooter while he killed 50 worshippers in two mosques.

Platforms have struggled in the weeks since to remove copies of the video, which have been repeatedly uploaded.

“The tragedy in Christchurch just over two weeks ago brought this issue to a head,” Australian Attorney General Christian Porter said in a statement on Thursday.

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An illustration picture shows a man starting his Twitter app on a mobile device in Hanau near Frankfurt. VOA

“It was clear from our discussions last week with social media companies, particularly Facebook, that there was no recognition of the need for them to act urgently to protect their own users from the horror of the live streaming of the Christchurch massacre and other violent crimes, and so the (government) has taken action with this legislation.”

The law was passed with the support of the opposition Labor Party and despite strenuous objections from industry bodies and some lawmakers, who warned against a knee-jerk rush to pass legislation that could have far-reaching ramifications.

Also Read- After Pixel Devices, Google Duplex Reaching iOS Users in US Cities

The Law Council of Australia said the legislation could have “serious unintended consequences”, CNN reported.

“Making social media companies and their executives criminally liable for the live streaming of criminal content is a serious step which requires careful consideration. Furthermore, the proposed legislation should not absolve the government taking steps to prevent crimes being live streamed,” Law Council President Arthur Moses SC said in a statement. (IANS)