There are some common misconceptions that prevent people who have overstayed their visa from approaching us. These include:
1. If I come forward you will detain me.
We generally do not detain people who voluntarily approach us about their immigration situation. We will generally assess you for a Bridging visa E, which is a temporary type of visa that allows you to remain in the community lawfully while you work with us to resolve your immigration matter.
2. If I come forward I will be deported and will not be able to stay in Australia.
We can discuss the range of visa options available to you when you approach us voluntarily, including whether you are eligible for a temporary or a permanent visa to remain in Australia.
3. I accidentally overstayed my visa because I didn’t understand when my visa expired, now it is too late.
If you have overstayed your visa, it is better to engage with us as soon as possible to resolve your immigration status. We can assess you for a bridging visa, which makes you lawful while you live in the Australian community and are working to resolve your immigration situation. It is never too late to engage with us voluntarily to talk about your immigration situation.
4. I have been working illegally but I’m scared to tell the Department because you will take away my money.
We encourage people without a valid visa to approach us to discuss their visa situation as soon as possible. We generally do not take away personal possessions, including any money, if you approach us voluntarily.
5. I can’t remain anonymous if I approach the Department face-to-face.
You can choose to remain anonymous if you approach us, either face-to-face, online or over the phone.
6. I don’t have any money and I need help.
When you engage with we may be able to organise support services for you and your family, based on your personal circumstances. These support services can help you to live in the Australian community while you work with us to resolve your immigration situation.
7. I want to go home but I need help.
If you approach us we can talk to you about available assistance in returning home, such as help with travel documents and passports, plane tickets, specialist counselling services, and assistance for when you arrive back in your home country.
For more information about expired or cancelled visas, visit border.gov.au/csrs or call anonymously on 1300 853 773.