Athletes that went missing at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games have turned up in Sydney seeking legal advice on how to stay in Australia.
News Corp reports up to 19 athletes who disappeared during the last week of the Games have until midnight tonight to leave the country or face deportation or detention.
A total of 11 are believed to be from Cameroon, while the others come from a number of other African nations.
The Refugee Advice and Casework Service in Randwick says some of the 11 athletes have asked for help with visas.
“Some have been to us for advice,” RACS solicitor Ben Lumsdaine told The Daily Telegraph on Tuesday.
The visas the athletes were granted to attend the Commonwealth Games will expire at midnight on Tuesday.
It’s understood the athletes will seek bridging visas, allowing them to remain in Australia while protection visa claims are assessed.
“The process can take many months, sometimes it takes years. We just hope there’s a fair legal process. We don’t have any vested interest in the outcomes,” Mr Lumsdaine said.
AAP is seeking comment from Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton.
The missing athletes include five boxers and three wrestlers from Cameroon, two athletes from Uganda and a Rwandan para-powerlifting coach.
There were also concerns about two Sierra Leone squash players who missed events but their nation’s authorities insisted neither athlete had gone missing.