29 Sep 2006

Nauru says Australia failed to pay refugee visa fee

4:56 pm on 29 September 2006

Nauru's foreign minister, David Adeang, says Australia has failed to pay an increased visa fee for an Iraqi refugee held on behalf of Australia.

Australia has labelled Mohammed Sagar a security risk and he has been held in Nauru for nearly five years without any resettlement option in sight.

Two months ago, Nauru decided to charge Australia a visa penalty fee for all asylum claims not processed within a year in a bid to speed up the processing in the Australian-run centres.

Mr Sagar's visa expired at the end of August, and he is now without a visa.

Mr Adeang says the matter is still under discussion.

"I have officially communicated with the Australian government on this matter, the visa fee that is to be paid, and, of course a new month commences on Sunday."

Mr Adeang says the matter will be discussed in a cabinet meeting today.

According to an earlier report, Nauru decided to charge Australia a penalty fee of 75 000 US dollars, but Mr Adeang would not confirm this.