Prime minister Malcolm Turnbull says allegations of visa corruption in the Australian Border Force will be “pursued relentlessly” and looked at “with the utmost seriousness”.
According to a joined Fairfax Media / 7.30 Report investigation, 132 cases of alleged corruption within the immigration department have been referred to the national corruption watchdog over the past 12 months.
Some immigration officials have been suspected of allowing individuals to bypass visa requirements especially within the student and work programs.
“Some investigations revealed thousands of skilled migrant applicants had lodged bogus qualifications from private colleges, funded by the Australian taxpayer, and in some cases excellent counterfeit degrees from our most prestigious Victorian universities,” Joseph Petyanszki from the department of immigration told the ABC.
“One investigation identified up to 4,000 applicants who used such documents to apply for skilled migration.”
As part of the investigation, whistleblower Jasvinder Sidhu revealed to Fairfax that at least a dozen Indian nationals had paid up to $80,000 to secure visa sponsorship for non-existent jobs.
A second whistleblower, Clint Raven, alleged his former employer Murphy Pipe & Civil had sponsored a number of foreign workers despite being unskilled.
Speaking to reporters today, Turnbull said: “Allegations of criminality, regardless of where they occur but particularly if they occur in government agencies, are taken with the utmost seriousness and will be pursued relentlessly until any offenders are identified a brought to justice.”
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