21 October 2008

Australian government commissioning Chinese to study passport fraud

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The Australian Government is increasing measures to tackle passport fraud from Chinese nationals by sponsoring two Chinese government officials to undertake forensic documentation examination studies.

The Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DAIC) and the Canberra Institute of Technology will provide the Forensic Document Examination tertiary training for the two Chinese officials, Ms Xu Juan and Ms Wei Tuni from the Ministry of Public Security in China.

"Effective document examination is a cornerstone of good border security and Australia is a leader in the field," Senator Chris Evans, Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, said.  "Knowing how to identify a fraudulent or counterfeit passport is crucial to maintaining the integrity of international borders."

Senator Evans added, as passport officials only have a few seconds to inspect passports and visas for Australia at airports, the onus should fall on passport issuers to detect fraudulence before they embark to Australia. 

Over the past year, 128 people were found to be using fraudulent passports, and over the past four years, the majority came from Iraq (26 per cent), China (21 per cent) and Sri Lanka (15 per cent).  Further, 143 people were stopped from entering Australia before they left overseas ports as officials found fraudulent passports and visas for Australia.

The DIAC ensure its staff's forensic experts train overseas officers in hot-spots for document fraud including Afghanistan, Cambodia, Thailand, East Timor, Indonesia, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Vietnam.

"Passport fraud is a global issue so assisting our regional neighbours with forensic document examination training is essential in managing our borders," Senator Evans said.

The Australian Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in helping people with their Australian visa application.

Article by Jessica Bird, Australian Visa Bureau.

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