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UNAUTHORISED ARRIVALS AND OVERSTAYERS
Age of unauthorised arrivals
Of the unauthorised boat arrivals, 66% were aged 20-34 years and 24% were aged 35-49 years.The majority of unauthorised arrivals who arrived in Australia by air during 1998-99 were aged 20-34 years (59%); the second most common age group was 35-49 years (32%).
Where do unauthorised arrivals enter Australia?
Many of the unauthorised boat arrivals (mostly from Indonesia) land on the Ashmore Islands, north of Western Australia in the Timor Sea. Other landing sites include; Cape York Peninsula, Torres Strait Islands, Darwin, Coburg Peninsula, Christmas Island, the north west Kimberley region, and the coasts of Western Australia, New South Wales and Queensland.
The majority of unauthorised arrivals flying to Australia arrive at Sydney airport (55% in 1998-99), followed by Brisbane (20%), Melbourne (10%) and Perth (9%).
Source countries of unauthorised arrivals
As many unauthorised arrivals have no travel documents on arrival in Australia, the citizenship of these entrants is sometimes difficult to determine. For arrivals by air, the country of origin is used when citizenship is not available, while ethnicity is used for those arriving by boat. Of the unauthorised arrivals by sea (see table 5.35), 21% were Chinese, 19% were Iraqi, 13% were Afghani and 12% were Sino-Vietnamese. In 1999-2000, 9% of unauthorised arrivals in Australia by air originated in Iraq, a further 6% were South Korea citizens and 6% were New Zealand citizens who were refused clearance due to lack of proper documentation (see table 5.36).
Initially overstayers arrive in Australia with valid temporary visas. When gaining a visa to enter Australia, people agree to comply with the conditions of that visa and to leave Australia before it expires. According to DIMA, the majority of people who overstay their visa are simply extending a short stay in Australia by a few days or weeks and leave of their own accord. Others overstay in the hope of living and working in Australia.
Some 7,200 visitors were identified in 1999-2000 as overstayers (see graph 5.37), well down on the number in the previous year. Australia's accumulated stock of overstayers was estimated at 58,745 as at the end of June 2000. An estimated 29% of these had overstayed their visa by less than a year, a further 15% between one and two years and 28% were believed to have overstayed for 9 years or more.
Age and sex of overstayers
Of the 58,750 estimated overstayers in Australia as at 30 June 2000, 62% were males and 38% were females. One-third of all male overstayers were aged 35-49 years, and a further 32% were aged 20-34 years. Of females, 28% were aged 20-34 years and 28% were aged 35-49 years.
Nationality of overstayers
The number of overstayers tends to correspond to the number of short-term arrivals from specific countries. At June 2000, around one-tenth of overstayers were from the United Kingdom, Australia's third main source country for short-term visitor arrivals. These were followed by 8% from the United States of America, 7% from Indonesia, 7% from the Philippines and 6% from China (excl. SARs and Taiwan Province).
The countries with the highest visitor overstay rate (overstayers from a particular country as a proportion of the total visitors from that country) differ substantially from the main source countries (see table 5.38). At June 2000, for visaed visitors from the two main source countries, Japan and the United Kingdom, the overstay rates were close to zero. However, for citizens of Viet Nam the overstay rate was 2.9% (of 5,020 visitors from that country), 2.1% for those from the Philippines (of 33,470 visitors), 2.1% for Samoa (of 2,590 visitors), 1.8% for Laos (of 530 visitors) and 1.7% for Peru (of 850 visitors).
The source countries with the highest proportion of overstayers still in the country include citizens of Ecuador (6.5% of 1,590 visitors) and Tonga (5.2% of 20,750 visitors). The proportions overstaying were also high for visitors from countries such as Peru and Bangladesh.