KUALA LUMPUR: Seeking a better life is why more than 30,000 Malaysians have overstayed their visa in Australia, with some claiming refugee status, Parliament was told.
"Malaysia ranks the highest in terms of Australian visa applications compared to other countries.
"However, they are not deemed refugees.
"Some do this (claiming refugee status) out of personal reasons in seeking better services or life in Australia or elsewhere," Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Datuk Marzuki Yahya said when answering a supplementary question raised by Datuk Mohd Salim Mohd Sharif (BN-Jempol) in the Dewan Rakyat Tuesday (Nov 5).
Mohd Salim claimed that Australian High Commissioner to Malaysia, Andrew Goledzinowski, had recently revealed that about 33,000 Malaysians had overstayed their 90-day visas, with some claiming refugee status.
"He (Goledzinowski) also said the Australian government had received 4,973 applications for protection visas from Malaysians between July 2018 and April this year," added Mohd Salim.
Marzuki said Wisma Putra was working closely with their Australian counterparts to monitor Malaysians seeking refugee status or protection visas.
"Australian authorities have now stationed their immigration officers here to examine visa applications by Malaysians before they travel to Australia," he added.
To a question by Arthur Joseph Kurup (PBRS-Pensiangan), Marzuki advised Malaysians to check with the relevant authorities before taking up overseas job offers.
He said this was to prevent Malaysians, particularly youths, being duped and ending up as illegal immigrants abroad.
He also advised Malaysians seeking to travel abroad not to abuse local and foreign immigration laws to over stay.
He said such actions made it harder for Malaysians seeking to study, work or stay abroad.
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