The governmental watchdog has flagged dire warnings of deteriorating health conditions for people who have been stuck in immigration detention for almost a decade.
Documents from the Commonwealth Ombudsman reveal a number of people including refugees are being held in long-term detention by the federal government, despite recommendations of community release.
The Ombudsman flagged in more than three instances, a person has been detained for more than eight years, with applications being bounced between Home Affairs, Immigration and the relevant ministers' offices.
In all these cases, not one person has been charged with a criminal offence or deemed a person of interest.
The names in all cases have been redacted by the Ombudsman and are referred to as "X". One assessment showed a man had been held in detention since February 2013 and a likely "prolonged" removal from Australia would influence his wellbeing.
"The Ombudsman is concerned Mr X is likely to remain in immigration detention for a long period because of the protracted nature of his removal from Australia," the report reads.
"This poses a significant risk to his health and welfare.
"The Ombudsman is concerned Mr X has been held in immigration detention for such a significant period without any criminal, behavioural or security concerns."
It recommended the minister intervenes by expediting the submission and grant the man visa and release into the community.
Another case in the Ombudsman's assessment shows the minister declined to intervene on an immigration matter, despite calls for him to be treated at an external facility.
The report also notes the man had received medical for physical and mental health conditions.
The man in question was fronting judicial proceedings, however the case was dropped.
"The Ombudsman notes that in January 2019 Mr X was considered to no longer be of interest to an external agency and is concerned that he remains in immigration detention despite the absence of any security concerns," it says in the recommendations of the report.
A number of the cases lodged by the Ombudsman relate to deportations or detained people who have several criminal matters before courts, or have been sentenced to jail time.
Some cases where criminal matters are connected are related to refugees who arrived to Australia by sea.
The reports also notes undetermined status of being a refugee or eligible protection visa status was influencing the health and mental state for a number of detainees.
This is referred to in case where a man had not had his visa status determined in over two and half years.
According to the report, a ministerial reshuffle was partly to blame for the delay in his visa status.
In January 2021, Mr X's submission was returned for rebadging following a ministerial reshuffle, it reads.
"In July 2021 the department advised it had sought guidance from the Minister of Home Affairs about the management of persons returned from a regional processing country in immigration detention using ministerial information powers."
"The Ombudsman is concerned that Mr X's ongoing uncertainty about his immigration status poses a significant risk to his health and welfare.
Liberal MP Karen Andrews is the current Home Affairs Minister. Previously the portfolio was held by Peter Dutton.
The collated reports also pointed to COVID-19 slowing down claims and the removal of non-citizens stuck in immigration detention.
In one case, a man who had spent more than eight years in detention was flagged to have his extraction from the country delayed as a result if restrictions.
"Mr X has been in immigration detention for more than eight years and, as of January 2021, was on a involuntary pathway to country A. The Ombudsman notes Mr X does not have a travel document and his removal is likely to be delayed because of COVID-19 travel restrictions," one report reads.
"The Ombudsman is concerned Mr X has been held in immigration detention for such a significant period of time without any criminal, behavioural or security concerns."
Further reports tabled to the parliament also show one family of four had spent 2728 cumulative days in detention as of May 16.
Another shows a family of three had spent 1095 days in detention and received a negative outcome on a refugee visa to the United States.
The family which had arrived by sea had initially been denied refugee status, but a later appeal determined the family had eligible grounds to seek asylum.
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