Australia HC warns Indian after PR scam unearthed

The scamsters convinced Aussies to fraudulently marry Indians and other South Asian nationals seeking permanent residency in Australia. Representative image.

If you are an Indian in Australia, beware of marriage proposals that come with the promises of permanent residency in the land Down Under.

An investigation by Australia Border Force (ABF) of late unearthed a marriage visa syndicate, which was being run from Sydney.

The scamsters convinced Aussies to fraudulently marry Indians and other South Asian nationals seeking permanent residency in Australia.

They lured Australian citizens to marry South Asian nationals with the promise of giving them a part of the hefty sum of money they collected from their clients seeking permanent residency.

A 32-year-old Indian national, Jagjit Singh, is facing court in Australia over his reported role as the “main facilitator” of the marriage visa scam.

Four of Singh's Australian accomplices are also facing the charges.

This prompted the High Commission of Australia in New Delhi on Monday to warn Indian nationals keen to live Down Under forever against falling prey to the scamsters promising permanent residency through marriages with Aussies.

The applications of as many as 164 Indian and other South Asian nationals for “partner visas”— visas given to foreign spouses of the citizens— were turned down after they were found to be linked to the syndicate.

“None of the participants in this scam obtained permanent residency. Some of these clients paid significant amounts of money, for no immigration outcome,” the High Commission of Australia in New Delhi stated on Monday.

It clarified that while using contrived marriages to secure permanent residency was not unique to any one nationality, the particular syndicate unearthed recently by the ABF was attempting to illegally facilitate fake marriages with non-citizens in the South Asian community.

“These types of scams generally target vulnerable young Australian women, many of whom come from disadvantaged and low socio-economic backgrounds. The non-citizens, attempting to enter or stay in Australia, generally pay a significant sum of money to the facilitator,” stated the Australian High Commission in New Delhi in a press release.

The ABF Acting Investigations Commander, Clinton Sims, was quoted in the press release saying that the syndicates undermined the integrity of the Australian government’s visa program and exploited desperate individuals.

“Many of the women involved in these scams have suffered a history of substance abuse, family violence and financial hardship, and are lured in with promises of substantial payments,” Sims was quoted saying.

“Those seeking a visa through a contrived marriage also need to understand that paying a facilitator will not buy them a permanent visa pathway in Australia. There is rarely any financial recourse in the event that their partner visa application is unsuccessful.”

Singh was charged the with four counts of arranging a marriage to obtain permanent residence, contrary to Section 240 of the Migration Act 1958.

If convicted, he would face maximum penalty of a fine up to $2,10,000 or imprisonment for 10 years.

His accomplices were charged with offences under the Migration Act and Criminal Code.

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Australia HC warns Indian after PR scam unearthed

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