DIAC advises people to only use registered migration agents.
30 April 2012
Sham Australian migration agent fined
A woman in Perth has been fined AU$12,000 (£6,000) for providing Australia visa advice to unsuspecting clients without a licence.
Pacita Boynes pleaded guilty to 13 charges under the Migration Act which including providing false statements on Australia visa applications, advising clients on paid work opportunities despite work restrictions on their particular visas and nine counts of receiving money for immigration assistance without the proper authority to do so.
Ms Boynes had previously been fined a total of AU$50,000 in separate charges related to fraud and was first investigated by Australian immigration authorities after a former client made an official complaint.
The Department of Immigration and Citizenship's (DIAC) investigation led officials to believe Ms Boynes had profited over AU$100,000 from the scheme, which included demanding 10% of a client's wage for the first 12 months in Australia.
Ms Boynes was informed she would face prison if convicted on similar charges in future.
A DIAC spokesperson condemned Ms Boynes and claimed that the Migration Act under which Ms Boynes was convicted carried maximum penalties of up to 10 years in prison.
"The Australian government will not tolerate illegal operators posing as migration professionals," said the spokesperson.
"Unprofessional, incompetent or unethical behaviour by unregistered individuals challenge the integrity of Australia's visa programme and brings the entire profession of more than 4,500 registered migration agents into disrepute."
The Australian Visa Bureau is an independent Australian immigration consultancy specialising in helping people lodge applications with the Australian Embassy.