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Six Pinoy 'tourists' detained in Sydney

March 7, 2007 9:39pm
Six Filipinos with visitor visa were detained by the Australian immigration bureau in Sydney on suspicions they were there to find work, the Department of Foreign Affairs reported on Wednesday.

It appeared the travelers were misled by a Manila-based travel agency about job opportunities in Australia. The travel agency offered them package tours with tourist or visitor visa.

The DFA did not name the Filipinos who were detained at Sydney’s Kingsford Smith International Airport over the weekend.

Consul General Ma. Theresa Lazaro said Australia’s immigration officers found the Filipinos’ explanations on their intentions for the visit to be inconsistent with the conditions of their visa.

One of the Filipinos said the travel agency told them they could freely look for job prospects or find employers through referrals while on tour.

In view of this incident, Lazaro warned Filipinos traveling to Australia on tourist or temporary resident visas that they could not use these to secure work permits there.

She also warned Filipinos to be wary of Philippine travel agencies that promise job opportunities by availing of package tours to Australia.

“The suggestion that a Filipino tourist can simply look for work or network with potential employers while on vacation is utterly and completely wrong," Lazaro stressed.

“This is clearly misleading as foreign tourists are not allowed to prospect for jobs in Australia as tourists. Neither is a foreign tourist allowed to prospect for potential employers directly," she explained.

Lazaro explained that an employer wanting to directly hire an overseas skilled worker should first secure approval from the Australian Department of Immigration to sponsor the worker and be able to satisfy the Philippine requirements for overseas employment contracts.

When this tedious process is completed, that is the only time the worker can be issued working visa, Lazaro said. - GMANews.TV
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