Federal bureaucrats have confirmed an Egyptian man wanted by Interpol spent almost a year in a low security immigration facility in South Australia.
Immigration officials have confirmed the man, who has an Interpol "red notice", arrived in Australia in May 2012 and was housed at the Inverbrackie centre in the Adelaide Hills until April this year.
The officials said they did not confirm suspicions about the red notice until that time.
The information emerged in Senate estimates hearings last night.
The officials also confirmed that an alleged Sri Lankan murderer was initially released into the community on a bridging visa, and that an accused Iranian drug trafficker has been moved from Nauru to a mental health hospital.
The Sri Lankan man, who was accused of murdering his girlfriend in Sri Lanka, was released into the community last September and was not detained until April.
The Department Secretary Martin Bowles says it is disappointing the information has become public, because it has the potential to compromise operations.
"It is very difficult when sensitive information like that is put in the public domain, I can assure you we knew about these individuals, and we were managing these individuals," he said.
Around 13,000 people are on bridging visas or in community detention in Australia.
Last night officials confirmed that a total of four bridging visas had been cancelled because of criminal convictions or charges. Five people in community detention are facing criminal charges, but officials could not give more details.