Potentially dozens of Commonwealth Games athletes and team staff who went missing during the Gold Coast event are now seeking asylum in Australia, refugee advocates say.
Sydney's Refugee Advice and Casework Service principal solicitor Sarah Dale told AAP the organisation had helped a number of people lodge applications for protection, before their federally-approved games visas expired on Tuesday night.
Initially, it was believed 11 participants had not returned home, including five boxers and three wrestlers from Cameroon, two athletes from Uganda and a Rwandan Paralympic powerlifting coach.
But Ms Dale, who was unable to give precise numbers due to privacy issues, said it was more than 19.
"It's our expectation that there are significantly more people in the community that have sought asylum here in Australia," she told ABC radio on Wednesday.
"It's a significant number ... It's certainly more than what's being reported."
The competitors are seeking asylum for various reasons and are from several different African countries, Ms Dale confirmed.
The federal government has said "some" of those who went missing have already been granted bridging visas to allow them to stay.
The applicants will need to demonstrate they fear persecution, whether it be on religious, race, nationality, social group or political affiliation grounds.
Australian Border Force said visa overstayers were "a common feature of many major international events".
It refused to comment on individual cases but issued a warning to those attempting to remain in Australia without engaging with authorities.
"They should be aware that anyone in Australia without a valid visa will be subject to enforcement measures aimed at locating, detaining and removing them from Australia," ABF said in a statement.
Those who are removed may face a three-year re-entry ban and could be forced to foot the bill for their removal, it said.
Tawanda Karasa decided to seek asylum after coming to Australia for the 2008 Homeless Football World Cup.
The Brisbane resident feared for his life in Zimbabwe because of his involvement in human rights activism, but said applying for a visa was sometimes a "torturous" process.
"It took me about three to four months to get permanent residency, but I know for some of my colleagues it took two years," Mr Karasa told the ABC.
Ms Dale says it is a "stretch" to suggest the claimants planned to come to Australia as part of a games team and then stay.
"I would not suggest that there was a group of people that had decided 'let's compete in the Commonwealth Games to get to Australia'," she said.
But some people do arrive in Australia to find that there are options, given their circumstances back home.