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The Department of Home Affairs will match its data with the records of the Australian Tax Office to identify fraud in temporary skilled employer-sponsored visas.
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10 Jan 2019 - 1:47 PM  UPDATED 10 Jan 2019 - 1:58 PM

Immigration authorities in Australia will now use the tax office data matching to crackdown on fraud in the temporary employer-sponsored visa programs.

The Department of Home Affairs said it will match data of 280,000 individuals with their tax records with the help of the Australian Tax Office to identify any instances of visa fraud.

The DHA said the move will help in identifying whether businesses that have sponsored foreigners are complying with their sponsorship obligations of paying the correct wages. The Department will also be able to monitor whether visa holders are complying with their visa conditions.

Temporary skilled visa holders are required to work in their nominated occupation approved by the Department of Home Affairs and they can only work for an approved employer.

The Department will share the details including name, address, date of birth of people who were holders of temporary Skilled visa (subclass 457) or Temporary Skills Shortage (subclass 482) visas during the most recent three financial years. the DHA said in a notice on Wednesday. The details of their sponsoring employers will also be shared.

The data the Home Affairs Department will then be electronically matched with the records of the ATO electronically to identify issues of non-compliance.

The DHA says it may take action against those found non-compliant, including visa cancellation. 

The data matching between these two agencies is not new. Last year, the ATO announced it would audit twenty million accounts over a period of three years up to 2019-2020. However, the data targeted by the ATO is very broad and includes visa holders, including skilled visas holders, international students, education providers, migration agents, sponsors of foreign workers etc.

Under the existing arrangement, the ATO is the sole user of the data and it’s carried out for identifying any tax evasion.

Though the ATO, under its own data matching mechanism, can share with the Department of Home Affairs information under certain circumstances, the Home Affairs’ data matching is limited to only temporary sponsored skilled visas.

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