Fake migration agents sentenced

Two Sydney women, one a 30 year old Australian citizen and the other a 32 year old Chinese national with permanent residency, have been sentenced to conditional good behaviour bonds after pleading guilty to multiple offences against the Migration Act.

Australian Border Force (ABF) officers commenced an investigation into the pair in October 2018 after it was reported they were unlawfully providing immigration advice and assistance to large numbers of mainly Chinese nationals.

Investigations revealed that although neither of the women were registered migration agents they had advertised migration assistance and charged a fee whilst not being registered, and provided immigration assistance to at least three travellers who were found to be in possession of fraudulently obtained identity documents.

For their unlawful services the pair charged clients fees ranging from $1,500 to $2,000.

The 32 year old woman pleaded guilty to two offences:

◦Charging fees for immigration assistance contrary to Section 281(1) of the Migration Act 1958 (Cth).

◦False representation that a person is a registered migration agent contrary to Section 283(1) of the Migration Act 1958 (Cth).

She was sentenced in Sydney’s Downing Centre District Court On Tuesday, 17 December, to an 18-month good behaviour bond.

The 30 year old woman pleaded guilty to three offences:

◦Giving immigration assistance when not a registered migration agent contrary to Section 280(1) of the Migration Act 1958 (Cth).

◦Charging fees for immigration assistance contrary to Section 281(1) of the Migration Act 1958 (Cth).

◦Self-advertising of the giving of immigration assistance by a person who is not a registered migration agent contrary to Section 284(1) of the Migration Act 1958 (Cth).

She was sentenced to a two-year good behaviour bond.

ABF Commander of Investigations, Graeme Grosse, said the ABF is targeting fake migration agents providing unlawful immigration services and misleading immigration advice.

“It is unlawful to charge a fee when providing immigration assistance in Australia unless you are registered with the Office of the Migration Agents Registration Authority (OMARA),” Commander Grosse said.

“And we certainly won’t tolerate fake migration agents trying to exploit Australia’s Immigration programme by assisting people to knowingly lodge false Protection Visa claims.

“Protection Visas are for people who are genuinely seeking protection due to a well-founded fear of persecution, or if there is a real risk they will suffer significant harm if they return to their home country.”

Non-citizens who do not engage protection obligations and have exhausted all avenues to remain in Australia are expected to depart in a timely manner and respect Australia’s immigration laws.

Those not holding a valid visa and who are unwilling to depart voluntarily may be subject to immigration detention and removal from Australia.

People who provide false or misleading statements or documents as part of a visa application in Australia risk being fined or imprisoned.

People with information about individuals falsely claiming to be a migration agent should contact Border Watch at Australia.gov.au/borderwatch.

By reporting suspicious activities, you help protect Australia’s border. Information can be provided anonymously.

/Public Release. This material comes from the originating organization and may be of a point-in-time nature, edited for clarity, style and length. View in full here.