23 March 2011
Foreigners admit paying for fake English marks to get Australia Visa
Three foreign students have told a West Australian corruption hearing they paid thousands of dollars for a high English-language test result to help them gain residency in Australia.
The WA Corruption and Crime Commission (CCC) is investigating allegations a staff member at Curtin University of Technology was paid to falsify English-language competency tests, which is an important part of the Australia visa and immigration process.
Indian national Harinder Jit told the hearing that a workmate told him he could pay to have his score altered if he sat the test at Curtin.
Mr Jit said he paid the workmate $2500 in 2009 to arrange for his scores to be changed to an overall mark of seven, and later paid a further $3200 for his wife's scores to be changed to an overall mark of eight.
Student Rikenkumar Vaishnani also testified that when he failed to reach his desired score, he paid a housemate's friend $11,000 to have his score altered in 2010.
Vishnal Pandya told the hearing he had failed the test several times in India and Australia before paying $1500 to have his results falsified, and that he helped four friends do the same.
Peter Speldewinde, from the Australia Immigration Department, told the commission on Monday that deliberate falsification of scores could undermine the integrity of the immigration system.
The hearing continues.
The Australian Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in helping people lodge their Australia visa application with the Australian Embassy.