Australian visas exploited by “criminal people smuggling syndicates”

In her speech to the annual John Curtin Lecture, Labor’s immigration spokesperson, Kristina Keneally, launched another tirade against the surge in bridging visas under the Coalition’s term in office, which has been fuelled by “criminal people smuggling syndicates… running a work scam”:

We have seen an explosion in this type of people smuggling in the last six years. Some 100,000 people claiming asylum after arriving in Australia on an airplane.

If 100,000 asylum seekers sounds like a lot – it is. It is more than double the number of boat arrivals that came under the previous Labor Government. It represents a growing number, year on year since 2014.

It is, quite frankly, an explosion of asylum claims under Scott Morrison and Peter Dutton’s watch…

90% of these asylum claims from airplane arrivals have been found to be without merit.

So, if these people aren’t refugees, why are they coming to Australia and claiming refugee status?

Because the people smugglers have updated their business model. To put it bluntly – the criminal people smuggling syndicates are now running a work scam.

They’re still trafficking to Australia in false hope. Still preying on desperate people. Still undermining the rules and norms that our humanitarian system is built on.

But instead of unsafe boats on dangerous seas, they’ve found a new way in by airplane – and a new product to sell – a job in Australia…

They use online tourist visa systems, now available to Malaysia and China, where most of these airplane arrivals come from.

Once the trafficked worker is here, the smugglers instruct them to apply for asylum, knowing the worker will be put on a bridging visa for at least three years before their application is determined.

Meanwhile, the smugglers send the workers out to dodgy labour hire companies and that’s when the real exploitation begins: pay as low as $4 an hour; physical or sexual assault; extortionate costs for food and accommodation; and curtailed movement as their passports are withheld.

It’s no better than indentured servitude. In a lot of cases, it’s worse…

It’s booming because there are dodgy labour hire companies and unscrupulous employers who see exploitation as a cost-cutting tool.

And it’s booming because Scott Morrison and Peter Dutton care more about the rhetoric of strong borders than they do about the reality of a temporary visa system in crisis…

Abul Rivzi has backed Kristina Keneally’s claims:

The fact is the large backlog of asylum applications slowly being processed creates a honeypot for people smugglers and unscrupulous labour-hire companies…

The December report to the Senate shows that the backlog of asylum applications at the primary stage is now 36,777 and growing steadily. It grew by 1,222 in just December 2019…

As shown in the next chart, bridging visas have ballooned by around 120,000 since the Coalition was elected in 2013:

Last year, former High Court justice, Ian Callinan, warned that the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) was being inundated with dodgy asylum seeker applications, fuelled by organised criminals:

[Former High Court justice Ian Callinan] said “almost everyone” with migration law experience had told him there were applic­ants and representatives who “game the system, well knowing there is an automatic entitlement to a bridging visa”.

The Australian Skills Quality Authority told Mr Callinan that delays had repercussions beyond the AAT. It told him it was aware that organised crimin­als were sometimes, “perhaps even regularly”, benefiting from fake vocational training prog­rams or “ghost’’ colleges…

The AAT now handles about 59,000 lodgements a year: more than half (52 per cent) are migra­tion and refugee cases…

The AAT’s caseload of migra­tion and refugee matters doubled in the two years to June 30 last year…

Moreover, Malaysians using dodgy agents were behind the surge in bogus asylum applications:

The Malaysian government this week acknowledged Malaysians seeking to earn money in Australia were scamming the country’s protection visa system by the thousands each year…

Malaysian Deputy Foreign Minister Marzuki Yahya told parliament there were few disincentives for workers to try their luck because it was so cheap to apply for a protection visa.

The worst that could happen was they would be sent home at Australia’s expense…

In truth, the rorting of Australia’s visa system comes in many forms, including:

  • Plane arrivals making bogus applications for asylum;
  • International students undertaking bogus tertiary courses to obtain work rights and permanent residency;
  • Undocumented migrant workers being paid well below market rates, facilitated via criminal syndicates and illegal labour hire companies; and
  • Employers hiring ‘skilled’ temporary migrant workers at below market rates around the minimum salary threshold of $53,900.

Basically, Australia’s immigration system has been corrupted and requires fundamental reform.

Unconventional Economist


    • Yep, legitimate applicants get reamed while the illegals get a red carpet ride.

      The is government has literally left the reservation with its stupidity and corruption. Beyond shameless

    • They’ve done nothing wrong, unless they get caught.
      “The worst that could happen was they would be sent home at Australia’s expense…”

    • Someone has to pay the price for mass immigration.

      If you do not tax the male vibrants, you have to tax the war brides.

  1. Hill Billy 55MEMBER

    No wonder Potatohead wants the visa system to be privatised. If no-one sees it, no-one knows!

  2. The obvious neo liberal solution to this issue is to privatise our Visa system so the efficiency is increased, the backlog eliminated, and profits extracted.a as

    • …and the bad behaviour required to profit from immoral activities can be done at arm’s length from government, whilst at the same time receiving the full blessing of government. When it goes tits-up government can point to the fact that it is a private business and nothing to do with them. Such is the time honoured process of government corruption dressed up as cutting red tape and increasing efficiency. Government has given away its power bit by bit and this one is the last straw that broke the nation’s back.

  3. Don’t be fooled. While libtards are destroying this country with a deliberate imigrate scam for thier paymasters if the Labor mafia ever gets in these bridging visas would turn into fast tracked citizen ship as demanded by the left woke feminazis who wants to import the entire third world here. The only solution is to only accept asylum claims from people outside this country at a UN refugee camp. Anyone who claims asylum here needs to be incarcerated and shipped to a holding facility until the claim is assessed. And a 100% vote of both houses should be required to change this.

    • Don’t think anyone on this blog would be fooled by thinking labor would be better, both sides are out to destroy workers.. and pretty much everything really

    • ALP Policy: If you “self identify” as a refugee it is bigotry to oppose your “lived experience” and you must be believed – or it is racist. For instance, if I want to claim to be an Australian I should be given passport to validate my self-identity. We do that with gender, why not nationality? And if you would like to put down that you are a 190cm, when some fascist tells you that you are actually 110 cm, there should be a special box for those self-identifying with trans-height.

    • Well gents. The LNP has no interest in the wellbeing of ordinary australians. Their donors are looking for a return of at least $1000 for every dollar of donation.

      Dream on if you don’t think a less rightwing government could be at least a little better.

      Dutton and Morrison are incompetent and non-christian (smart) fools.

  4. This country has been a crime scene for a long time, 7 or 8 years ago I used to drink with an Iranian who paid the people smugglers $10,000 to get to oz & before departure for oz sent his documents to his parents in Iran.

    Then he got a job somewhere…. it was a laugh every time catching up with him

    Planes, boats… when I used to say anything I was called a racist …

  5. Your analysis is misleading. Bridging visas are issued for all applicants applying in a change of status, not just PV applicants. One way to stop the ongoing rorting of onshore protection visa applications is to back out of the UN Convention and take refugees only from refugee camps offshore. Another way is to curtail appeal rights onshore.