Report finds fraud rife in Australian visa system

New figures obtained by Australia’s ABC news network reveals that thousands upon thousands of Indian students, temporary 457 visa holders and skilled workers have entered the country using ‘dodgy’ visas.

Australian Visa ArrivalThe information, gathered by ABC’s Fact Checking Unit under Freedom of Information between 2008 and 2010, shows that fraud rates for Indian visa holders are approaching 50 per cent, and that the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) is struggling to properly identify people who are entering the country.

Through the General Skilled Migration visa scheme, of 23,767 visa lodgements made from India during the 2008/2009 financial year, there was a 46.9 per cent fraud rate. What’s more the rate was as high as 51.6 per cent in the third quarter of that year.

The student visa figures don’t read much better. For Indian student visas, the DIAC documents obtained by ABC show that there was a 37 per cent fraud rate from 41,636 lodgements across the same time period.

Immigration Department spokesman Sandi Logan told ABC that the figures from the 2008/09 financial year are troubling.

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“Around the periods of 2008, 2009, 2010 the fraud levels were quite considerable, a matter of real concern to the Department of Immigration and Citizenship,” he said.

According to DIAC, it is extremely hard to prevent identity fraud regarding Indian migrants due to the low level of technology included on Indian passports. However, Logan did say that the situation is improving.

In the wake of ABC’s findings, which could lead to those people found to be in possession of fraudulent documents being deported, the Migration Institute of Australia has called for tougher regulations on overseas-based immigration agents. The organisation believes that migration agents overseas should be forced to register with the Department of Immigration, so they can be banned if they cheat the system.

During the 2011/12 migration year, official figures show that 29,018 Indian immigrants emigrated to Australia on a permanent visa – meaning that India is currently the number one source country for new immigrants, having overtaken China and the UK.