AWOL Comm Games African Athletes Have Visas To Stay
Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton has refused to acknowledge reports some of 11 African athletes who went missing during the Commonwealth Games have obtained bridging visas to stay in Australia temporarily.
Mr Dutton has instead urged the competitors to give themselves up as the visas they were issued for the Gold Coast Games expired at midnight on Tuesday.
However the head of a service that helps refugees migrate to Australia says some of the missing group already have bridging visas.
"I know some of them have already had interviews with immigration," said David Addington, the chairman of Sydney's Northern Beaches Refugee Sanctuary.
"I know that some of them have already been given bridging visas ... so you don't get detained."
Refugee Advice and Casework Service principal solicitor Sarah Dale has also told AAP her Sydney legal centre helped a number of the athletes lodge applications for protection before their Games visas expired.
Mr Dutton has nonetheless called for the athletes to present themselves to Australian Border Force officers.
"If people have breached their visa conditions ... enforcement action will take place to identify those people and to deport them if they don't self-declare," he said in Melbourne on Tuesday.
One Nation leader Pauline Hanson says the athletes shouldn't be allowed to stay.
The missing athletes include five boxers and three wrestlers from Cameroon, two athletes from Uganda and a Rwandan Paralympic powerlifting coach.