Students warned over immigration fraud after “fixer” is jailed

International students planning to move to Australia to study are being reminded to make sure they get the right visa from the right source.

They are being warned to be aware of people who are not registered migration agents offering to sort of their visa for a fee and being aware of the rules if they want to work while studying.

Those who are already in Australia and want to find a job in the country after graduating are also being advised to be aware of people claiming they can help them for a fee by offering false references.

People are also being warned that if they get involved in this kind of fraud they could have their visa taken away and even deported and not allowed back into Australia for some considerable time.

The warning comes after a woman from Melbourne was jailed for 18 months for visa fraud. The 47 year old was part of a group of people charged with providing students on temporary visas with false work references for a fee to support their applications for a permanent skilled migration visa.

Following an investigation by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP), the woman was charged with one count of dishonestly influencing a Commonwealth Official, contrary to section 135.4 (7) of the Criminal Code.

Australian Border Force Commander Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Anthony Seebach, said the investigation found that the false work references had been submitted as part of Trades Recognition Australia assessments for more than 100 skilled visa applications.

“The Australian Border Force, the DIBP’s operational enforcement arm, actively investigates and prosecutes people who are found to be defrauding the immigration system. This type of fraud is not only unscrupulous, it’s unfair. It gives some people an advantage in the visa application process over others who abide by the law,” said Seebach.

“Visa applicants who engage in this type of fraud against the Commonwealth are likely to have their visa refused and be subject to an exclusion period restricting them from returning to Australia,” he warned.

“The Australian Border Force works closely with other government agencies, both federal and state, to identify potential instances of fraud against the Commonwealth,” he added.

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