Swedish deported au pair case highlights & # 039; confusion & # 039; about visa rules

Josefin Unefäldt in Sweden.

An au pair who worked in Australia with a tourist visa without incidents, and then be deported during her holidays, has highlighted what critics say is "confusion" around the rules.

The case of Josefin Unefäldt, who has made headlines in his native Sweden, comes amid the au pair scandal that continues to involve the Minister of Internal Affairs, Peter Dutton.

The 26-year-old told SBS News this week that she came to Perth on a tourist visa in December to work as an au pair for her host family in the UK while enjoying a holiday in Australia.

Ms. Unefäldt was allowed to enter the country and continued to work as an au pair during the month-long trip, unaware of any visa violation.

Josefin Unefäldt was deported from Australia.


"[The family] They never asked me if they thought there was a risk … We had no problem entering, "he said, adding that there were no questions or problems at the airport.

The time she spent caring for her employer's three children in Australia was uneventful until Ms. Unefäldt took a vacation in Bali without her employer and sought to reenter the country with the same tourist visa.

It was only at this point that she caught the attention of the authorities who interrogated her and confiscated her phone.

When they discovered a text message regarding the salaries of the previous Australian stage of the trip, she was detained at the Immigrant Transit Accommodation Center in Melbourne for four days before being deported.

Ms. Unefäldt, who claims that she did nothing wrong, is now banned from entering Australia for three years.

"They said he had been working illegally [but] all the money went from a UK account to my UK account … My income had nothing to do with Australia at all, "he said.

Ms. Unefäldt said that at the airport she was told "I was taking a job from other Australian girls, that if I had not come they would have asked an Australian girl".

"He was so confused … He seems so wrong."

Sue Pember, the founder of Aussie Au Pair Services, told Fairfax earlier this month that "probably thousands of cases where host families and au pairs ignore regulations or knowingly participate in the services of au pairs who do not have appropriate work rights in Australia. "

& # 39; A free pass & # 39;

Mr. Dutton used his ministerial powers to avoid the deportation of two other au pairs in 2015. The issue is now a matter of Senate investigation, where the minister's actions are being investigated.

He freed French au pair Alexandra Deuwel from immigration detention after being pressured by AFL chief Gil McLachlan and granted a visa to Italian au pair Michela Marchisio, who allegedly planned to work for a former colleague of the Queensland police.

Speaking from the UK, Ms. Unefäldt said she knew the cases were news in Australia and said there were "double standards".

She said she did not understand why these women "got a free pass, while I'm still suffering … This happened months ago and I still wake up crying." [thinking about detention]"

"I don `t believe [Mr Dutton] I should choose who should be free or not. "

Peter Dutton on September 3.

Peter Dutton on September 3.


Migration agent Julie Williams said that Ms. Unefäldt's case showed the contrast between an au pair who had access to the minister and another who did not.

"It is unusual for the minister to get involved in this scenario with the [two] au pairs since there seemed to be no compassionate or convincing reasons to do so, or if the Australian public was interested in granting their visa when it was clear that they were going to work, which constituted a violation of their visa conditions, "she said.

Australia does not have a dedicated au pair visa. Instead, people must apply for a work holiday visa (Subclass 417) or work and vacation visa (Subclass 462).

Nicole Kofkin, executive director of the Australian agency Smart Au Pairs, said that the au pair Dutton controversy has shed light on the deficiencies and confusion of the current system.

"The au pair saga has underpinned the need for a regulated au pair program with professional support from approved agencies and a dedicated visa," he told SBS News last week.

Conditions of detention

Ms. Unefäldt has given a suggestive account in the Swedish press of what she describes as her inhuman treatment at the hands of the Australian authorities while in detention.

"The dream trip ends at the Melbourne airport … Josefin has five minutes to call his parents before leaving and being locked up for an indefinite period," said an article.

Ms. Unefäldt told SBS News that the person who conducted the interview at the airport was "really aggressive" and "disrespectful".

And, she says, once she was detained, "they did not let me know how long I would be there for … I talked to some people who were there for five months … I was going crazy."

After four days of detention, she was taken back to the airport and taken to Sweden.

"I was escorted [through the airport] by three security guards around the public area … It was like he was a criminal, "he told SBS News.

"I felt I had done something wrong, but I had just gone on vacation with a family."

Josefin Unefäldt in Australia.

Josefin Unefäldt in Australia.


A spokeswoman for the Australian Border Force said that "although the ABF does not comment on individual cases, it is the responsibility of the visa holder to know and comply with the conditions of their visa."

The Department's website on tourist visas does not specifically address labor standards for an overseas employer while in Australia, but says "you should not work in Australia with this visa".

The spokeswoman said that Ms. Unefäldt should have been on Working Holiday Visa (Subclass 417).

"Non-citizens who have previously failed to comply with their visa conditions, especially the status of" not work ", may have their visas canceled upon arrival in Australia and may face expulsion."

When asked about the four-day detention of Ms. Unefäldt, she said, "non-citizens who are denied immigration authorization are eliminated as soon as possible."

"[The ABF] takes seriously the claims about the professionalism of our officials and we have well-established processes to review the actions of our officials if a complaint is filed. "

"We are not aware of any complaint regarding the actions of our officials in this matter."