50 illegally overstay Commonwealth Games visas as 200 apply for protection

Almost 200 Commonwealth Games athletes and officials remain in Australia after applying for protection, with another 50 people staying on illegally.

A Senate committee has heard 8103 people arrived on visas issued for the Gold Coast event and 7848 have since left the country.

It has been revealed 205 people are now legally in the community on bridging visas while their applications for other categories are considered.

The Cameroon team marches into Carrara Stadium for the opening ceremony for the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast. Some team members were later reported missing from the village. Source: Reuters

Athletes from a number of countries, including competitors from some African national teams, disappeared from the Commonwealth Games village on the Gold Coast last month.

“Most of those have applied for protection visas,” Home Affairs deputy secretary Malisa Golightly told senators in Canberra on Monday.

Ms Golightly estimated about 190 had applied for protection and 10 or 15 had applied for other categories including for business purposes.

Another 50 people remain unlawfully in the country.

Athletes that went missing at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games have turned up in Sydney seeking legal advice. Source: AAP

“We have had no contact with them,” Ms Golightly said. “We know they haven’t left.”

The number of visa overstayers is a vast increase from the initial estimate, after the Gold Coast Games ended on April 15.

Initially, it was believed just 11 participants had not returned home, including five boxers and three wrestlers from Cameroon, two athletes from Uganda and a Rwandan Para-sport powerlifting coach.

Refugee advocates had reportedly been helping them with their applications, pushing the Government “fast-track” some applications, according to the ABC.

“Is there an urgency provision the department applies here to try and get them done quickly?” Greens senator Nick McKim asked.

Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton last week warned border officials were pursuing enforcement action against some overstayers.