THE Australian authorities are pursuing a young Irishman for almost €20,000 over deportation costs arising from his overstaying his visa by 30 months.
Ross O'Sullivan (28), from Cork, had lived in Perth, in Western Australia, for five years before being detained by Australian immigration authorities.
Now, Mr O'Sullivan faces a battle with the Australian authorities who are demanding compensation for his visa processing issues – and warning he may not be allowed back into Australia for three years.
Mr O'Sullivan, who is a bricklayer, had moved to Australia for work after he anticipated the collapse of Ireland's construction sector in 2007. The young man, speaking to Australia's 'Irish Echo' before his deportation, said he did not know what he was now going to do.
"I had $1,300 (€900) and I said I voluntarily want to leave and book flights. But they said it doesn't work like that," he said.
"They said I have to have three escorts travel back with me to Ireland. The escorts' flights, accommodation and food all comes back on me. I wanted to leave voluntarily, on my own money, but they said no."
Mr O'Sullivan had spent almost six years in Australia, was never out of work and had a long-term relationship with a young Italian woman.
"God only knows how I'm going to pay for this. I'm going back to a country in a recession. I'm a bricklayer."
He was detained last February by Australia's Department of Immigration and Citizenship when, during a routine check, his visa problems were discovered.
"It was my life. I thought this was it. I have been here since I was 22. My family were due out to visit me. I have never been home. I'm going to try and get to Canada because there is nothing for me now at home."
The Perth detention complex was established in 1981 to cope with the increasing number of migrants in western Australia breaching their visa terms.
The majority held there are of Asian ancestry.
Western Australia has attracted record numbers of migrants seeking work in the booming mining, security and tourism industries.