Published online by Cambridge University Press: 05 June 2012
Unlawful non-citizens: an overview
A person in Australia who is not a citizen and does not have a current visa is an unlawful non-citizen. This is contrasted with a lawful non-citizen, which is defined as a person in the migration zone who holds a visa that is in effect. It is not an offence to become an unlawful non-citizen, but such people face mandatory detention, removal from Australia and the costs of enforcement action.
In 2004–05, 18 341 unlawful non-citizens were located, compared with 20 003 in 2003–04 (following a doubling over the previous three years). This includes those located through compliance fieldwork (9062) and those who voluntarily approached DIMIA at their own initiative or at departmental request (9279).