PETALING JAYA: A Malaysian, who overstayed and worked in Australia, has exposed how foreigners are exploiting protection visas there.

Nazuan Apis spent more than year working around Australia before returning home to be with his wife and second born child.

The Malaysian said he was offered a way to extend his stay while he was working at Robinvale, in north-west Victoria, in 2016, The Australian newspaper reported on July 5.

Nazuan had arrived in Australia on a three-month online tourist visa and picked up seasonal farm work.

He said the offer of a protection visa came from a Malaysian work agent. The Malaysian said it cost him A$100 (RM290) to get the visa.

A protection visa allows foreigners to remain in Australia permanently so long as they arrived in the country on a valid visa. Applicants must be a refugee or meet the complementary protection criteria.

Nazuan said he and 15 of his Malaysian housemates applied for protection through the same agent.

All they had to do was fill in the form and get local police authorise it, he said.

Nazuan said he was warned to “never come again” by customs officers at the airport when he left Australia.

“Everyone was asking me how to go to Australia, how to get work there, what place could they go to make money,” he said.

Thousands of Malaysians are seeking refugee status in Australia every year, as an excuse to remain in the country.

Deputy Foreign Minister Datuk Marzuki Yahya said he noted the high number of locals applying protection visas there, with many claiming ill treatment and discrimination against them in Malaysia.

“The action of Malaysians applying for protection visas from the Australian government, claiming their lives will be threatened if they stayed on here, is merely an excuse for them to continue living there.

“The Malaysian government has never oppressed its citizens, be it for race, religion, or political affiliation. In fact, human rights protection is guaranteed under the constitution,” he told the Dewan Rakyat on July 2.

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