08 April 2011

Individuals face bribery charges over Australian immigration test results

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The Corruption and Crime Commission (CCC), a corruption watchdog in Western Australia, has charged nine people with 59 counts of bribery for accepting money in return for changing the results of IELTS (International English Language Testing System) results.

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The Corruption and Crime Commission (CCC) has charged nine people for changing the results of IELTS tests.

Applicants seeking a visa to Australia, whether for permanent residency, work or student visas, must often demonstrate their competence level in English by sitting a test under the International English Testing System (IELTS). Applicants are required to prove competency by achieving the required score, and scoring below that required level can often jeopardise visa applications.

One of the men facing charges is a former staff member at Curtin University English Language Centre in Bentley, Western Australia. The alleged offences are claimed to have happened over a twelve month period from June 2009, and have arisen from a wider investigation the CCC is conducting into Curtin English Language Centre’s policies and practices.

Speaking for the CCC, spokesman Trevor Wynn said the organisation will allege that the former University staff member dealt with intermediaries who went on to share bribes ranging from $1500 to  $11,000 paid by candidates taking the test in order to have their scores altered favourably.

A spokeswoman for the Australian Immigration Department said that the residency status for the men charged would be reviewed in connection to an investigation into the allegations. Supplying false documentation or information is viewed as a serious offence and can lead to residency, visas and citizenship being revoked, she said.

The Australian Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in helping people lodge their application to the Australian embassy.

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