Subject: ABC: Turmoil over citizenship among Melbourne's Timorese

Turmoil over citizenship among Melbourne's Timorese

Hundreds of East Timorese who have been living in the Australian city of Melbourne for up to 10 years are facing deportation after their applications for permanent residency were rejected.

Almost 15-hundred East Timorese asylum seekers will receive letters from the government in the next few weeks, telling them their bridging visas have expired and they need to leave Australia.

Most of them will lodge appeals with the refugee review tribunal, but in the meantime will not be able to work and will lose all funding including health care and asylum seeker assistance payments.

East Timorese Victorian Fivo Freitas says he and his compatriots have spent years becoming part of Australian society and do not want to leave.

"We go to study together, we work together, we play soccer together, we play cricket together, we eat vegemite together.. everything we do at the same time, but we doesn't recognise by the Federal Government to become an Australia citizen."

11/02/2003 12:32:47 | ABC Radio Australia News

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