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Susan Wareham
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Migration Racket

Fri, 08 May, 2009

News Photo - Migration Racket

An alleged racket involving a migration agent supplying false documents to support visa applications has been uncovered in a multi-agency operation in New South Wales, the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Senator Chris Evans, said today.

Officers from the Department of Immigration and Citizenship, the Australian Federal Police and other government agencies yesterday raided the Sydney office of the migration agent who was behind the alleged racket.

It is alleged that the agent, who is an Australian citizen, was involved in falsifying documentation to support applications for permanent skilled migration visas.

Investigators suspect the agent allegedly supplied false documents for at least 30 applications, mostly from Chinese nationals.

The raid followed information received by the department about the legitimacy of certain documents being supplied with applications for pre-migration skills assessments for occupations including cooks, mechanics and hairdressers.

Investigations are continuing into possible offences relating to forgery and fraud under the Migration Act and the Commonwealth Criminal Code which carry penalties of up to 10 years’ imprisonment.

‘Illegal activity by migration agents attacks the heart of Australia's visa programs and will not be tolerated. This operation is further evidence of the government’s resolve to target migration fraud,’ Senator Evans said.

‘People who obtain permanent visas for Australia based on falsified documentation can have their visas cancelled.’

Senator Evans said the operation highlighted the need for a greater level of scrutiny on the migration advice profession.

Earlier this year, the minister announced the establishment of a new body to regulate migration agents after a review found dissatisfaction among consumers, potential conflicts of interest and serious structural flaws under existing arrangements.

From July 1, a new Office of Migration Agents Registration Authority will undertake the regulatory functions which have been operated under statutory self-regulation by the Migration Institute of Australia since 1998.

‘The will new authority will provide greater confidence to the consumers of migration advice services and remove concerns about potential conflicts of interest,’ Senator Evans said.

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