The Australian High Commission in India has warned PR applicants from India to be wary of fake marriage scams.
A fake marriage gang which was operating out of Sydney was busted earlier this month. A 32-year old Indian citizen was arrested by the ABF who is said to be the mastermind behind these scams. This also resulted in 164 visa applicants being refused their Partner Visa applications. The applicants allegedly were linked to the fake marriage syndicate.
None of these visa applicants were able to get an Australian PR, said the Australian High Commission. These visa seekers had apparently paid huge sums of money through this scam. This syndicate was trying to facilitate fake marriages with people from South Asia. However, contract marriages are not limited to just one nationality, said the High Commission.
Scams as these target young Australian women from lower socio-economic backgrounds. They are persuaded to enter into fake marriages with visa applicants trying to enter Australia. These visa applicants pay a large sum of money to the facilitators.
4 women who were Australian citizens were also charged after the gang was busted. They were charged with convincing people to enter into fake marriages with visa-seekers.
The ABF has been successful in fighting fake marriages in Victoria. One person received an imprisonment of 6 months for fraud against the Australian Migration Act.
SBS spoke with Clinton Sims, Acting Investigative Commander of ABF. He said that the syndicate undermined Australia’s visa program. They tried to exploit individuals desperate for a visa. Paying facilitators for a contrived marriage will not get desperate visa-seekers an Australian PR. Efforts to nail such scams is ongoing.
If found guilty, the ones arrested in these scams may face up to 10 years in jail. They may also need to pay a penalty of up to $ 210,000.
The High Commission said that Australia employs a variety of measures to ensure the integrity of the Partner Visa program. These measures may include documentary proof, home visits, and conducting interviews. Also, there is a limit to the number of times an Australian may sponsor a partner.
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