22 October 2008

Evans cracking down on fraudulent Australian visa dealers

The Minister for Immigration and Citizenship Senator Chris Evans is creating tougher laws to crack down on fraudulent education agents who have been selling fake Australian student visas, reports the Sydney Morning Herald.

At a Senate hearing yesterday, Senator Evans told its members an increasing number of education agents are selling study packages overseas for foreign nationals, which include tuition, work experience and a fake Australian student visa

The issue has been raised with the Chinese Ambassador, in an attempt to get international support for the crackdown. 

"I have very severe concerns about education agents both in this country and abroad," Senator Evans said.  "If someone gets induced and sold a package in their home country, there's very little we can currently do about that.  They arrive with expectations that can't be delivered."

Senator Evans said he would be collaborating with Julia Giddard, Minister for Education, to tackle the problem; however, as most of the fraudulence happens overseas, it will take cooperation from countries such as China to combat the issue and tougher regulation of overseas recruitment agencies to provide honest information about visas for Australia and the nature of Australian education.

The Australian Government is also 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 said.  "Knowing how to identify a fraudulent or counterfeit passport is crucial to maintaining the integrity of international borders."

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

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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