Wide-scale visa fraud has been uncovered in confidential Department of Immigration papers, linking some illegal migration syndicates to organised crime groups and terrorism.
The documents, obtained by Fairfax Media and dated from 2008 to 2013, reveal that as many as nine in 10 visas issued to skilled immigrants to work in Australia may be fraudulent.
Among the hundreds of leaked papers, a 2010 report indicates “fraud within the general skilled migration program is extensive… with estimates [of] more than 40,000 suspect visa applications lodged per year for the last three years”.
A 2013 report says that the Department of Immigration’s “investigation network is now in a far worse condition than at any time in its history” and has limited resources at hand to combat these criminal activities.
“Major organisers of fraud on Australia’s immigration and citizenship programs realistically need have little fear of detection, arrest and prosecution,” it says.
The leaked files also reveals information pertaining to the possibility of illegitimate student visas, exposed government “loopholes”, an absence of investigations “integrity”, and the revelation that fraud is “business as usual”.
Prominent immigration lawyer Nigel Dobbie says at least $500 million is needed to impede these illegal enterprises.