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Widespread fraud in Australia’s work and student visa programs, claims investigation

Source: AAP

The investigation report published today points out how Department of Investigations found "massive fraud" in Student, Skilled Migration and 457 visa programs.

Reema Gupta left India in 2010 to study hairdressing in Australia.

Two years later, when she started looking for work after gaining her degree, Reema was shocked to learn that potential employers were demanding money to sponsor her for 457 Temporary Work (Skilled) visa.  

"Where ever I went, they ask for money. ‘It's $50,000, $70,000. To me I have the skills I have the hard work the dedication. I don't want to pay I don't have the money to pay," she said.

Another Indian national, Rohit too faced similar scam. After he answered an advertisement offering training and sponsored employment as a cleaner, he paid thousands of dollars but that job never eventuated.

"He exploited so many students, 100 nearly 200 students, we already sent the report to the Immigration Department but unfortunately they didn't do anything."

Now, an investigation by Fairfax Media and ABC has revealed widespread fraud in Australia’s work and student visa programs.

The investigation report published today points out how Immigration Department is facing over 100 allegations of corruption which suggests how immigration officials may be supporting this scams.

The report reveals that this widespread fraud involves licensed migration agents, education providers, fixers, dodgy employers and even immigration officials.

The investigation which will be aired tonight includes interviews with whistleblowers and a sting operation, which claims to have captured a fixer saying that for $50,000 in cash per foreigner, his syndicate can create phantom jobs and visa sponsorship.

Indian community leader Jasvinder Sidhu says he is not surprised with these revelations. “I have come across many such cases where the dodgy employers have demanded money to sponsor the 457 temporary skilled worker visa.”

“The issue of exploitation of students and promises to arrange 457 sponsorship came to my attention a few years ago.

“A girl approached me who paid cash not once but twice. Her father had sold house to pay this. Since then I have come across more than 15 cases where money upto $50,000 or more was taken in cash. In some cases, inspite of payment, the promised job never materialised.  

The worst case I have come across was of a woman who was sexually exploited by an employer. Another case involved repeated rapes and I was shocked when I saw 19 page long police report.

“I am not surprised with these new revelations but I feel angry on lack of action by the government,” Sidhu told SBS Hindi.

With inputs from Abby Dinham and Manpreet Singh

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