Tag: Australian Border Force

Syndicate organising fake marriages for Indians wanting permanent residency busted

Alleged fraudulent marriage scam

By SAT News Desk

MELBOURNE, 20 November: The Australian Border Force (ABF) has busted a ‘contrived marriage syndicate’ operating out of Sydney, with a 32-year-old Indian national facing court over his alleged role as the main facilitator. A further four Australian citizens are facing charges for allegedly convincing individuals to fraudulently marry non-citizens seeking to obtain permanent residency, says an ABF media release.

The syndicate targets South Asians by organizing contrived marriage scams with promises to Indians wanting permanent residency in Australia.

The long-running operation by the ABF also resulted in 164 foreign nationals having their applications for a Partner visa refused after they were linked to the syndicate. None of the participants in this scam obtained permanent residency. Some of these clients paid significant amounts of money, for no immigration outcome.

While contrived marriages are not unique to any one nationality, this particular syndicate was attempting to illegally facilitate fake marriages with non-citizens in the South Asian community.

These types of scams generally target vulnerable young Australian women, many of whom come from disadvantaged and low socio-economic backgrounds. The non-citizens, attempting to enter or stay in Australia, generally pay a significant sum of money to the facilitator.

The ABF has also been successful in combating contrived marriages in Victoria, with one individual sentenced to six months imprisonment for fraud offences against the Migration Act.

ABF Acting Investigations Commander, Clinton Sims, said the syndicates undermine the integrity of Australia’s visa program and exploit desperate individuals.

“Many of the women involved in these scams have suffered a history of substance abuse, family violence and financial hardship, and are lured in with promises of substantial payments,” Commander Sims said.

“Those seeking a visa through a contrived marriage also need to understand that paying a facilitator will not buy them a permanent visa pathway in Australia. There is rarely any financial recourse in the event that their Partner visa application is unsuccessful.”

“Protecting the integrity of the visa system is an operational priority for the ABF and anyone found to be involved in, or facilitating sham marriages should expect to be investigated and face criminal prosecution. Registered agents and marriage celebrants also face losing their registration.”

The Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions (CDPP) has charged the 32-year-old Indian national with four counts of arranging a marriage to obtain permanent residence, contrary to Section 240 of the Migration Act 1958. The maximum penalty is a fine up to $210,000 and/or 10 years imprisonment.

The remaining four individuals have each been charged with offenses under the Migration Act and Criminal Code.

The Department of Home Affairs has a range of measures in place to ensure the integrity of the Partner visa program. These measures include assessing detailed documentary evidence, conducting interviews and home visits, and limitations on the number of times a person can sponsor a partner to Australia.

Members of the public who have information about possible visa fraud are encouraged to report it to ABF’s Border Watch program by visiting Australia.gov.au/borderwatch. Information can be given anonymously.

Nine Indian imposters arrested in Gold Coast for posing as journalists to cover CWG-2018

bris_airport_2
Photo: Austalian Border Force

By SAT News Desk

MELBOURNE, 29 March: A 46-year-old Indian national has been charged with offenses under the Migration Act 1958, including people smuggling, after allegedly facilitating the travel of a fake media contingent to attend the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast.

Nine individuals arrived at Brisbane Airport yesterday (Wednesday, 28 March 2018) holding Temporary Activity Visas, claiming to be accredited media representatives.

An Australian Border Force (ABF) Airline Liaison Officer (ALO) in Bangkok had flagged the group on transit through Thailand on suspicion they may be non-genuine travelers.

They were questioned by ABF officers on arrival in Brisbane and eight were found to have fraudulent foreign media credentials.

Australian Federal Police officers arrested and charged the ninth person, a 46-year-old Indian national with:

one count against Section 233C of the Migration Act 1958 (Cth) – the Aggravated offense of people smuggling (at least 5 people)

one count against Section 234A(1)(c) of the Migration Act 1958 (Cth) – the Aggravated offense of false documents and false or misleading information etc. relating to non-citizens (at least 5 people)

The maximum penalty for these offenses is 20 years in jail.

Police will allege in court that the 46-year-old Indian national who did hold valid credentials was facilitating the group’s travel.

ABF Regional Commander Queensland, Terry Price said that while the ABF is working hard to ensure smooth entry for legitimate Commonwealth Games visitors, attempts to exploit the event and Australia’s visa program will not be tolerated.

“Anyone wishing to enter Australia, including athletes, team officials, spectators and the media, must hold a valid visa and accreditation and must be deemed to be a legitimate visitor,” Commander Price said.

“As with all travelers, the ABF will process all Commonwealth Games visitors on arrival and anyone found not to be here for legitimate purposes can expect to have their visas canceled and to be turned around. This may occur on arrival in Australia, or prior to boarding flights to Australia.

“We have a skilled network of ALOs at key overseas international airports who can identify travelers of concern and stop them traveling or, as in this case, provide real-time information to alert colleagues onshore.”

“The ABF remains highly alert to other similar attempts that may occur as we get closer to the start of the Commonwealth Games.”

AFP Manager Aviation, Commander Warwick Macfarlane said security measures throughout the lead-up and duration of the Commonwealth Games will be a collaborative effort between law enforcement and domestic partner agencies.

“AFP officers at Brisbane International Airport will continue to work with partner agencies to maintain a safe and secure environment for all travelers attending the Commonwealth Games”, Commander Warwick Macfarlane said.

The other eight individuals have been taken into immigration detention. Inquiries are continuing in relation to this matter.

The 46-year-old Indian national is remanded in custody and is scheduled to appear in court on Friday 6 April 2018.