Last night, ABC’s 7.30 Report ran a brilliant segment (above) examining Australia’s “hidden people smuggling scandal” and systemic visa rorting.
Below are some key extracts from the transcript. First, here’s Melbourne Indian community leader, Jasvinder Sidhu, explaining his first-hand accounts of widespread visa rorting and corruption:
NICK MCKENZIE: Melbourne Indian community leader Jasvinder Sidhu knows the man shown in this covert footage filmed for 7.30. Last year this same man messaged him on Facebook offering him a stake in the visa scam scheme.
JASVINDER SIDHU: He said very confidently, “In any industry we can get sponsorship and we just have to organise agreement.” And he even offered me money and he said for every case, I think $5,000 he was offering.
NICK MCKENZIE: In a series of conversations, the visa fixer asked Jasvinder Sidhu to find new visa applicants among his friends and family back in India. The fixer would then arrange for a corrupt employer to provide the paperwork for a fake job and visa sponsorship.
JASVINDER SIDHU: They were offering multiple sponsorships in commercial cookery, in mechanics, IT as well because he said his boss could arrange 457 in IT – information technology.
NICK MCKENZIE: The visa scam came as little surprise to Jasvinder Sidhu. He knows of many Indians who’ve paid large cash sums to corruptly obtained skilled or student visas in an effort to get permanent residency.
JASVINDER SIDHU: I’ve been hearing it eight, nine years and the last time I heard was last week when somebody paid $45,000 cash.
NICK MCKENZIE: Now Sidhu is determined to expose what he’s learned about Australia’s immigration underworld.
JASVINDER SIDHU: These people will then create your fake timesheets, fake pay slips and they will pay in your bank account and obviously everything else will also be fake, which is superannuation and other related documents.
NICK MCKENZIE: So you’re paying for a fake, a phantom job and in return you get your skilled visa?
JASVINDER SIDHU: Yes. So you are paying extra to get or create a job which doesn’t exist and to create a service which was never delivered and you’re getting permanent residency, which is not fake. This is a real output…
Yes, there’s corruption from top to bottom. Thousands and thousands of people are being sponsored and they’re all fake. The whole system cannot work that smoothly if there’s no corruption in the system.
NICK MCKENZIE: Someone on the inside has to know?
JASVINDER SIDHU: Oh, yes, definitely. Even if you do a bit of overspeeding, you are caught, but this is a huge corruption – huge level of corruption and it is so widespread.
And here’s Clint Raven, a former employee at Murphy Pipe & Civil, explaining systemic rorting of the 457 “skilled” temporary worker system:
NICK MCKENZIE: The rorting of Australia’s immigration system has taken place on some of the nation’s biggest mining and infrastructure projects.
CLINT RAVEN: These people aren’t just here to work, they’re here to get permanent residency.
NICK MCKENZIE: For the first time, Clint Raven is speaking publicly about the hiring practices of his former employer, multinational construction contractor Murphy Pipe and Civil.
CLINT RAVEN: As a business, we were sponsoring visas for workers as project coordinators, project administrators where that role didn’t exist on our site and these people were actually – their actual job was as a labourer on the ground.
NICK MCKENZIE: He was shocked as he dug deeper into what appeared to be blatant visa fraud.
CLINT RAVEN: We would have employees be sponsored as quite a senior role, but be operating an excavator or working as a labourer. Many of these people didn’t have the training even to operate machines when they came to the country.
NICK MCKENZIE: Raven said he personally identified at least 30 workers at Murphy Pipe and Civil who appeared to be in breach of migration laws and suspects there were many more, often aided by Federal Government licensed migration agents.
How were they getting away with it?
CLINT RAVEN: Ah, I don’t know. I don’t know. They were working very closely with immigration agents that were requesting they change resumes to suit a role better.
NICK MCKENZIE: The migration agents are in on the scam?
CLINT RAVEN: Oh, most definitely, yeah. They were advising them on how they could get the loopholes.
NICK MCKENZIE: Raven took his concerns to the Immigration Department and says they did not appear serious about dealing with the visa rorting. Murphy Pipe and Civil has been fined a mere $3,500 and banned from sponsoring more overseas workers, which Raven says amounts to a slap on the wrist.
In a statement, Murphy Pipe and Civil denied deliberately rorting the visa system and said it was appealing the ban on sponsoring more foreign workers as the ban was wholly unreasonable.
CLINT RAVEN: The issue is that Australians are missing out on jobs and there are people jumping the queue to gain residency into the country off the back of a mythical labour shortage.
That Australia’s visa and permanent residency system can be run this way is an absolute disgrace. But hey, it’s been easy for the Government to ignore the issue while it deflects the public’s attention to boat arrivals.
When combined with the Turnbull Government’s policy allowing 6 year-olds and their guardians visa entry into Australia’s primary schools (and allowing them to purchase established property), along with the proposal to allow migrants to bring into Australia their elderly parents (thus further straining Australia’s healthcare system and infrastructure), it is clear as day that Australia’s immigration system is a farce.
There needs to be a Royal Commission investigating the corruption, fraud and rorting endemic in the visa system. Enough’s enough.
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