Australia Warns Indians About Fake Marriage Visa Scam
The Australian High Commission in New Delhi has warned Indians to be aware of fake marriage scams targeting South Asians
The Australian High Commission in New Delhi has warned Indian nationals seeking permanent residency in Australia to be vary of sham marriage scams targeting South Asians.
The warning came after Australian Border Force (ABF) shut down a false marriages syndicate operating out of Sydney with the arrest of a 32-year-old Indian national who is now facing charges over his alleged role as the main facilitator.
Besides the Indian national, four Australian citizens too are facing charges of convincing individuals to fraudulently marry non-citizens seeking to obtain permanent residency, the Australian High Commission in New Delhi said in a release titled ‘warning about fake marriage scams.’
The High Commission said in the release that the long-running operation by the ABF also resulted in 164 foreign nationals having their applications for a “partner visa” refused after they were linked to the syndicate, news agency PTI reported.
The Australian High Commission said in its release that none of the visa applicants could secure permanent Australian residency through this scam despite some of them paying large sums of money.
“While contrived marriages are not unique to any one nationality, this particular syndicate was attempting to illegally facilitate fake marriages with non-citizens in the South Asian community,” the High Commission said.
According to the High Commission, these types of scams generally target vulnerable young Australian women, many of whom come from disadvantaged and low socio-economic backgrounds.
Clinton Sims, ABF Acting Investigations Commander said that fake marriage syndicates undermine the integrity of Australia’s visa program and exploit 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 as saying in the release. “Protecting the integrity of the visa system is an operational priority for the ABF and anyone found to be involved in or facilitating sham marriages should expect to be investigated and face criminal prosecution. Registered agents and marriage celebrants also face losing their registration,” Sims added
Meanwhile, the Indian national, arrested for this scam, has denied all allegations while speaking to the media after appearing in the Downing Centre Local Court in Sydney.
“I don’t know the guy who was arranging these things, I am just sometimes helping them,” The Daily Telegraph quoted him as saying.
If found guilty of the charges brought against him the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecution, he could get 10 years in jail and a penalty of up to A$210,000, SBS reported.