An Irishman who has been locked up in Australia after his visa expired is to return home this week.
26-year-old Bernard Lee from Greystones in Wicklow was arrested by armed police last week after it was discovered that he was in the country illegally.
He claims an admin error meant he didn't know his visa had expired. However, he has been permanently expelled from Australia as punishment.
Lee will be escorted home by immigration officials on Friday. A Change.org petition says he has since lived and worked legally in Western Australia for the last seven years.
The petition aimed at the Australian authorities had appealed for Bernard to be allowed to return home as he had planned this week, instead of keeping him in detention.
Speaking to the The Pat Kenny Show on Newstalk from his cell in the Yongah Hill Detention Centre in Northam 90km northeast of Perth today, he explained why he was denied citizenship.
“They refused the permanent visa on grounds of character - I have some drink driving charges and driving without a licence charges from over five years ago,” said Lee.
“They refused by permanent application and when they did that they then cancelled by current visa, but they never notified me of the cancelation.”