11 June 2012

Hunt on for alleged people smuggler granted Australia visa

Authorities are searching for a man who allegedly fooled Australian immigration authorities into granting him refugee status, and was even granted an Australia visa, before setting up a widespread people smuggling operation in the country.

Australian immigration

Investigative programme Four Corners accused 'Captain Emad' of being a people smuggling kingpin

The man, known only as 'Captain Emad', was accused of being a people smuggling kingpin by the investigative journalism programme 'Four Corners' last month. The government last night confirmed the man, who still held a valid Australia visa, fled the country less than 24 hours after the programme aired.

Australian immigration authorities have claimed they had insufficient evidence to detain Captain Emad and prevent him from leaving the country despite a two year federal police inquiry in to the man's activities.

Opposing politicians have criticised the government for their inability to halt the people smuggler. Opposition immigration spokesperson Scott Morrison has called on Immigration Minister Chris Bowen to reveal when he was informed that a human trafficker had been granted a permanent residency visa and what steps were taken to prevent him from leaving the country after the allegations were aired.

Mr Bowen's office confirmed that Captain Emad had been granted a permanent residency visa but refused to comment on speculation that the man lied about his refugee credentials and whether he was living in taxpayer funded housing.

A spokesperson for the minister defended the decision not to detain Captain Emad, claiming the government would not disregard due process and risk a repeat of a 2007 case which saw Indian doctor Muhamed Haneef wrongfully accused of terror links.

The Australian Visa Bureau is an independent migration consultancy specialising in helping people lodge their Australia visa application with the Australian Embassy London.

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