The two women who were arrested and detained by immigration officials in Perth last week will be the
35th and 36th Irish citizens to be deported from Australia this year.
This marks a sharp increase in the number of reported deportations since 2011.
Ambassador of Ireland Noel White played down the apparent increase and said the number of Irish cases was proportionally small.
“The number of overstayers that are recorded would be very, very small in proportion to the number of Irish people here on 417 [working holiday] visas,” he told the Irish Echo.
“There isn’t a spike in these figures. Maybe some of these cases are coming to attention in a way they haven’t done in the past.”
He said that most of those deported from Australia in the last two years would have been in the overstayer category but said that he is “not aware that Ireland is a standout category in the matter, compared to other nationalities.”
At the end of June 2009, there were fewer than 450 Irish ‘illegals’ living in Australia, according to the Department of Immigration. The most recent figures however reveal that there were an estimated 1,240 Irish overstayers living in Australia on December 31, 2011.
Many overstayers simply extend their stay in Australia by a few days or weeks, and leave of their own accord with in a short period of time.
Others overstay for a long period, out of a desire to live and work in Australia. People who overstay their visa by more than 28 days may become subject to an exclusion period, which prevents them from travelling to Australia for three years.
Once the exclusion period has finished, the person cannot be granted a visa unless they repay any debt that is owed to the Commonwealth, including the costs for removal.
The latest deportations coincide with an apparent clampdown on Irish overstayers.
The Irish Echo understands that a number of young Irish have been held in the Immigration detention centre in Villawood recently after being arrested for overstaying or breaking the terms of their visas.
One former Villawood detainee told a friend that there were so many Irish in the centre when he was there “it was like [popular Irish backpacker pub] the Cock’n’Bull”.