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Immigration authorities have denied an Indian citizen a permanent residency visa after receiving a tip-off that the applicant had not lived in the regional area.
Mr Singh* arrived in Australia in 2007 on a student visa and in 2012 was granted a 487 visa which provides a pathway to permanent residency after living in a Specified Regional Area in Australia for at least two years and working full time for one year.
In July 2015, Mr Singh applied for an 887 permanent residency visa but a delegate of the then-titled Minister for Immigration and Border Protection refused to grant him the visa stating they were not satisfied Mr Singh had lived at two addresses in Wodonga between February 2013 to 2015, as he had claimed.
Mr Singh had provided immigration authorities with documentary evidence which included utility bills, mobile phone bills, taxation records, employment and superannuation records, rent agreement and bank statements spanning two years across two properties he claimed to have lived at.
But an anonymous informant told the department that Mr Singh was living and working illegally in Melbourne.
The department learnt through the anonymous informant that Mr Singh was not working for the nominating employer in the regional area and had in fact paid money to the employer in exchange for not notifying the immigration officials.
The department also learnt Mr Singh had taken a lease in the regional area but was living in Melbourne and worked night shifts as a security guard for cash.
A friend of Mr Singh who claimed to have lived with him and did the same thing (ie, claimed to live in a regional area while working in Melbourne) was deported by Immigration.
The department further corroborated these claims made by the informant and found Mr Singh had been charged with traffic offences at times and places that indicated that he was not residing in Wodonga.
Mr Singh took the matter to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) of Australia which further found discrepancies in the payslips and bank records and late payment of superannuation.
The Tribunal also heard evidence of Mr Singh’s friend who was deported to India.
The Tribunal found licencing records held by Victorian police which demonstrated Mr Singh had applied to be licensed as a security guard in 2008, 2011, 2012 and again in 2015, where the registered address was a Melbourne address and the employer was an entity based in Melbourne.
The AAT upheld the department’s decision following which Mr Singh applied for a judicial review with the Federal Court of Australia.
The Federal Circuit Court of Australia accepted Mr Singh’s argument and observed the Tribunal had not arrived at its decision independently of the anonymous information.
The matter did not end here. The Minister for Immigration and Border Protection appealed this decision and it was allowed on Tuesday where The Court found that the anonymous information was accurate in respects that rendered critical aspects of Mr Singh’s evidence unable to be accepted.
The Court ordered the judgement and orders of the primary judge be set aside.