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TNT Can Apply for Visa: Hard, But Possible

Czar Calabarzaron , LEGAL VIEWS

(TNT) (Tagalog for “always hiding”) is a Filipino colloquial term for illegal immigrants. Originally used for illegals in the United States, the term now applies to overseas Filipinos who are always on the run from immigration authorities.

The terminology used in the current Australian legislation for TNTs is “unlawful non-citizen”. These are people who enter Australia without a visa or remain in Australia when they no longer possess a visa, either because it has expired or been canceled.

It is estimated that there are more than 60,000 illegal immigrants in Australia. 3 out of 4 illegals came here on tourist or work visas; 1 in 7 arrived as students and 1 in 15 disappeared after being granted temporary residency. A recent newspaper article noted that the illegal immigrants could even populate a large regional city in Australia.

TNTs are subject to immediate detention and removal from Australia. TNTs are also in constant fear of being arrested, jailed and sent back to the Philippines. This fear is exacerbated by the Immigration dob-in service where anyone, even a friend, neighbor or workmate, can give information to facilitate the arrest and detention of illegal immigrants.

TNTs also face exclusion ban of 3 years preventing them from being granted a temporary visa to travel to Australia. Even after the exclusion period, they cannot be granted a visa unless they repay any debt they owe to the Commonwealth including for costs of removal.

The only way a TNT can legally remain in Australia is to apply and be granted a visa. Under existing law, this is hard but not an impossible task. TNTs eligibility for a substantive visa depends on several factors, including the facts and circumstances of each case.

It is anticipated that the newly elected Abbott Government will crackdown on illegal immigrants or pass tougher laws to combat illegal migration. Given this and the fact that TNTs cannot hide forever from immigration authorities, it is advisable for TNTs to obtain professional confidential legal advice on their visa options.

Atty. Czar Calabazaron is a Barrister at Marbury Chambers. He is also a lawyer in the Philippines and a partner/consultant in Salud Calabazaron Del Fierro a law firm in the Philippines. For legal advice on Philippine and Australian matters, you can call Atty. Calabazaron at 0413684330/(02) 80843786, email or visit