The independent investigation report by Nine News and the Age has uncovered that various international crime syndicate has utilised the Australian Immigration system for the sex-trafficking of vulnerable women and the ‘importing’ of convicted criminals.
How these illegal activity work
Vulnerable people are firstly recruited from developing countries, including but not limited to South Korea, mainland China, Hong Kong, and Brazil via advertisements to ‘work’ in Australia. Thereafter, the contact from the criminal syndicate would, with the help of dishonest migration agents, education agents and fraudulent corporate sponsors to lodge a variety of fake visas ranging from working holiday, employer sponsored to student visas.
The visa process starts when the applicants pay an initial down payment to the criminal syndicate to arrange for the visa. Then, the syndicate would often work to obtain fake documents for the visa applicants. The documents and information would then be passed onto agents who then organise and lodge a false application to the Department of Home Affairs.
In addition to preparing documents, the syndicate also provide applicants with scripts in the event they were quizzed by the Border Force officials; all the information detailing the arrangement is deleted from the applicant’s communication device once communicated to ensure borders authority cannot be made aware of them.
The applicants have no intentions on complying with their visa conditions to study at the said education institution or work in the field the visa was granted on; once they are onshore, they are transported to licensed brothels, motels and other sites to work, some even work up to 25 hours straights. Queensland investigator Detective Inspector Brad Phelps described the unfortunate situation that these women are moved across Australia like ‘Cattle’ because these applicants are in a foreign country without English ability; they have ‘no control over the work they’re conducting… no control over their clients, there is no health and safety.’ (Mckenzie, Ballinger and Tozer 2022).
Furthermore, the applicants will also have to contribute part of their earnings upon arrivals the criminal organisation. For many, their passport and identification documents are taken away to prevent them from leaving.
A similar process is applicable for convicted criminals. Per the reports, dishonest migration agents help many criminals onshore to apply for bogus protection visas to enable them to stay on a bridging visa to stay in the country legally whilst undertaking illegal activities. They would also help convicted criminals to come to Australia to continue their activities on a student visa without disclosing prior convictions. Upon the near or rejection of the initial application, the agent will often continue to rot the system by applying for extensions or appeals visa refusals without prospective of being overturned (as the long waiting time for visa decisions will allow the applicants to stay in Australia and work longer).
The conducts of these migration agents in advising and assisting criminal syndicates to lodge fake visa applications to further criminal activities such as human trafficking or organise crime is also contrary to clauses 2.9, 2.9A and 2.10 of the Migration Agents Code of Conduct
to not make or encourage to make inaccurate statements, deceive the Authority and engage in false or misleading advising; not to mention that these migration agents may have aided and abetted criminal activities.
Home Affairs Minister Clare O’Neil has conceded that the government needs to address criminal infiltration of the Immigration System. On 2 September 2022, Mrs O’Neil announced that there will be a comprehensive review of Australia’s migration system to ensure that the system meets the challenges and circumstances of the coming decades to protect Australia’s national interests.
During these unprecedented times, you need to choose carefully when selecting a migration agent or lawyer to assist you with your case. Because integrity matters.
Talk to the migration team at No Borders Law Group today.
Email: [email protected]
Tel: +61 7 3876 4000