29 May 2019: A man will face Brisbane Magistrate’s Court next month for charging heavy sums of money from at least 50 potential visa applicants with some applicants paying “well over $100,000”.
The man allegedly worked with several complicit Registered Migration Agents “sponsoring individuals for positions in businesses that do not exist”.
It is understood the individual had been arranging the submission of false visa nominations and applications for various skilled visa subclasses.
ABF and AFP officers had searched two residential properties in Daisy Hill and Logan Village in Brisbane south on May 15, ABF said in a press statement today. During the operation, a large amount of evidence including documentation regarding visa applications and dozens of electronic devices were seized.
“The seized evidence is now being closely examined ahead of possible additional charges against further individuals suspected of systemic visa fraud,” the immigration watchdog said in its statement.
According to ABF Investigations Commander Graeme Grosse, the execution of the search warrants was the culmination of an investigation that had been ongoing since 2017.
“The ABF has been closely investigating this matter for some time. We believe that one individual has been arranging the submission of false visa nominations and applications for various skilled visas subclasses,” Commander Grosse said.
“We will not tolerate attempts to engage in fraudulent activity, and the Australian community can feel confident that we are doing everything possible to bring the full force of the law against anyone engaging in this type of unlawful activity and to maintain the integrity of the visa system,” he further added.
According to the ABF, several charges are possible, including under s234 of theMigration Act which relates to the provision of false documents or misleading information, and can attract up to ten years’ imprisonment per charge.
Registered migration agents who are found guilty of fraudulent activities in connection with the Australian migration law face disciplinary action by the Office of the Migration Agents Registration Authority including possible cancellation of their registration.
Requesting payment in exchange for visa sponsorship is an offence punishable by a two year prison sentence and/or a fine of $75,600 per offence.
ABF guarantees anonymity to people who report possible visa fraud via BorderWatch programme which can be accessed by visiting www.Australia.gov.au/borderwatch.