Desperate overseas students paying $100K for visas
By Peter Michael
November 20, 2009 12:01am
DESPERATE overseas students are allegedly paying bribes of up to $100,000 to Queensland businesses to illegally obtain permanent residency visas.
Authorities have launched a top-level probe into the immigration scam after being alerted over business owners accepting bribes to provide fake documents for mostly Indian, Japanese and Chinese students.
The rorting of the Regional Skilled Migration Scheme comes as Australia grapples with surging numbers of boat arrivals, The Courier-Mail reports.
Under the scam, wannabe migrants – most currently on a two-year student work visa – are paying $50,000 bribes for bogus employer sponsorship documents.
They are also offering to pay in advance a year's minimum wage, in some cases up to $50,000, to guarantee the unconditional but fraudulent support of the business owner.
An Immigration spokesman said the visa scam had been referred to the Immigration Department's Identity Security Strike Team, which recently charged a 24-year-old Victorian woman over a similar scheme.
Officers had been aware of “identified entities” supplying fraudulent migration-related documents in Sydney and Melbourne, he said.
But this latest syndicate is believed to be the first uncovered in Queensland.
One overseas-born Queensland businessman, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told how he had been personally approached by several groups of desperate students in Cairns.
“They are willing to do anything, they are willing to pay whatever it takes,” he said.
“Under an immigration clampdown they are facing up to four years in limbo before they get any decision on permanent residency, so they are exploiting loopholes and bending the law.”
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