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- 05-02-2012, 11:35 AM #1
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- Jan 2012
Australia Net News: Widespread visa fraud
Australia Network News:Stories:Australian Immigration workers claim widespread visa fraud
Australian Immigration workers claim widespread visa fraud
Last Updated: 21 hours 54 minutes ago
Australia's Immigration Department has been rocked by claims of frequent and widespread fraud in visa applications, which insiders say has led to child trafficking on Australian soil.
The allegations relate to family visa applications in which Pakistanis are claiming to be from Afghanistan.
While immigration officials often detect the fraud, in many cases they are overruled on appeal.
A former employee at the Australian High Commission in Islamabad, who wishes to remain anonymous, says she witnessed visa fraud in her office "on a daily basis".
"Definitely, in fact I would say just about daily, a large percentage of my caseload would've been Pakistanis claiming to be Afghan refugees or Afghan asylum seekers," she said.
It is something that even refugee advocates acknowledge.
"I'm not sure that I would say regularly, but it's certainly something I have come across," migration agent Marion Le said.
"I know there are people living now in Australia as permanent residents, as citizens who are actually citizens of Pakistan but who pass themselves off as Afghans."
The ABC also obtained a letter from another Immigration Department employee which details the extent of the problem.
"Illegal facilitation of non-family members, children, child brides, and unknown strangers via false documents, false statements and false applications," the letter reads.
The letter said some visa holders already in Australia are sponsoring family members who are in fact no relation at all.
"Afghans in Pakistan are being coached by ever more informed relatives and agents in Australia about how to sidestep DIAC's (Department of Immigration and Citizenship) integrity processes," the letter reads.
"When particular visa subclasses are being cracked down on - for instance the 'orphan relative' and 'carer' visas - the fraud simply moves to other caseloads.
"Family reunification visas are now the preferred 'fraud du jour'."
The former High Commission employee agrees with the letter's sentiments.
"I know that there are children that have come to Australia who are not related to the people that they have been sponsored by - they're not part of that person's family," she said.
"You know they've just been lost in the system - lost in the world wherever they are."
Ms Le said she often comes across "women and girls who have been beaten and their families who don't leave for cultural reasons".
"I've got four cases on my books at the moment of very, very serious abuse here in Australia," Ms Le said.