19 October 2011

Links between sex industry and Australian student visa program to be investigated

The Australian Government has launched a targeted analysis of the student visa program following allegations of links to sex trafficking and prostitution.

Australia Visa

The Australian Government has launched a targetted analysis into possible exploitation of the student visa program.

Australian immigration minister Chris Bowen has announced the details of risk and integrity analysis about to be conducted by the Australian Federal Police and Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC), to investigate expolitation of the Australia visa program.

"My department routinely conducts compliance operations in the sex industry, generally as joint operations with the AFP, to ensure the owners are not employing foreign nationals working without a valid visa or in breach of work conditions,” Mr Bowen said in a statement released this week.

"This is the situation as with any other industry. But following particularly serious and disturbing allegations, it is only appropriate that a thorough analysis now occurs.

"Australia is committed to ensuring the integrity of its migration and visa programs. Allegations of illegal work and the exploitation of workers in any industry by unscrupulous employers or migration agents are taken very seriously."

The minister explained that the upcoming project will be aided by a new unit that will specialise in maintaining the integrity of the visa system.

"My department's detection and prevention activities have been enhanced with the establishment of a specialist integrity analysis unit that detects, measures and recommends treatments to mitigate against integrity risks identified within our visa programs and operations more broadly," he said.     

Australian Visa Bureau is an independent immigration consultancy that specialises in helping people lodge applications with the Australian High Commission.

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