The Assistant Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, Senator the Hon. Michaelia Cash, has today launched a national campaign to investigate allegations of unauthorised payment to visa sponsors in return for visas.
Minister Cash said although the overwhelming majority of people do the right thing, it is a small minority who don't abide by their obligations or attempt to defraud our migration programmes.
"Visa fraud is not acceptable and anyone who engages in this type of behaviour will face serious penalties," Minister Cash said.
"The campaign will involve an initial assessment of up to 100 visa sponsors who are subject to allegations that they have been in some way connected to receiving payment for arranging sponsorship for individuals under the 457 visa programme."
"The previous Labor Government was quick to demonise the subclass 457 programme with broad, unsubstantiated claims of widespread rorting while failing to focus on increased compliance. In contrast, the Coalition Government is as tough on enforcing our immigration laws in the workplace as we are on our borders and has already achieved a significant escalation in compliance, investigation and integrity activities, across a broad range of immigration and visa product areas."
A public education component of the campaign Work visa scams. Don't pay the price will further educate visa sponsors about their obligations and remind visa holders of their rights and responsibilities.
"All allegations of inappropriate behaviour by a visa holders or sponsors are taken seriously - if a sponsor is found to have failed their sponsorship obligations, the department takes appropriate action," Minister Cash said.
"This may take the form of imposing administrative sanctions, issuing infringement notices, executing an enforceable undertaking or applying to the federal court for a civil penalty order."
A business that sponsors a visa holder under false pretences may also be committing other offences, such as providing false or misleading information or engaging in misleading or deceptive conduct.
Visa holders who enter into contrived employment relationships for migration purposes may also be guilty of fraud related offences and/or not meet immigration requirements, including the genuineness criterion.
For further information visit the Work in Australia page on the department's website: www.immi.gov.au/Work. People with information about suspected immigration fraud are encouraged to call the Immigration Dob-In Line on 1800 009 623 or visit the department's website: www.immi.gov.au/Help/Pages/immigration-dob-in-service.aspx
Source: Media Releases - Senator Michaelia Cash was sworn in as Assistant Minister for Immigration and Border Protection