Exposed: Immigrants Buying Their Way into Australia | Visas, Immigration and Fraud in Australia

Merel Schoneveld

Merel Schoneveld

Immigrants Buying Their Way into Australia:

Precise Investigation has recently been tasked with uncovering one of Australia’s most significant immigration scams to date. What could be involved in an immigration scam, we hear you ask? Well, to be perfectly clear, it’s not so much a “Scam” as it as an abuse of Australia’s Border entry requirements and regulations.

Australia has a number of special, business-related Visas that allow people entry and permanent residency in Australia when certain criteria are fulfilled. Like all Visa applications, the Australian Immigration Office requires specific evidence for each application, and it’s usually from a lack thereof that people are unable to successfully process their Visas.

A few weeks ago, Jason Burns, a wealthy foreign national and client of ours, was given the opportunity to take up permanent residency in Australia, with no questions asked. Jason knew something illegal was going on and so decided to employ our services. Jason asked us to investigate a number of cases where people had fraudulently applied for Visas 888 and 132.

These Visas allow applicants to enter and live in Australia permanently when they come in with the intention of running a medium or large-scale business and have the capital to back it. We’re not talking about a few hundred thousand here; we’re talking millions.

According to the Border.gov.au website, Visa 132, for example, requires applicants to possess a minimum of $1.5 Million AUD in either personal or business assets to apply. Click here to see the Visa’s entry terms.

That’s a lot of money!

So how are these people managing to outsmart the Immigration Office? The truth is, they’re not actually doing anything “wrong” in the Government’s eyes… at least not on paper, anyway.

The people in question are high net-worth individuals, originating predominantly from countries in Asia, such as, China, Japan and India. They have the money, but considering they don’t have any intention on starting businesses or investing capital into the country, how are they obtaining the Visas?

Most of these people are working their way into the country through bribed or corrupt Immigration Lawyers, by lodging applications to set-up and run businesses in Australia and injecting huge capital into reputable banks to make everything seem legitimate.

Once all of the paperwork is in place and their “businesses” are up and running, they arrive and go about their everyday lives with little or no intention of actually managing their projects.

Here’s an overview of how the scam works:

  1. Applicant approaches a shady immigration lawyer in their home country.
  2. The applicant then pays anywhere between $1.5 million and $5 million AUD to apply for the relevant Visa and “set up” their business, all through the same immigration lawyer.
  3. The money is transferred to an account held at a reputable financial institution, in the business’ name, which is then managed by a corrupt accountant.
  4. Once the process is complete and the Visa applicant is granted his or her entry, 20% of the initial payment goes to the immigration lawyer and 10% to the accountant as respective “commissions.”
  5. Over time, the remaining 70% of the initial investment, held in the Australian account, is transferred back to the applicant’s foreign account, as “expenses” or the like.
  6. At the point where the bank account is depleted, and the applicant has enjoyed Australian life for a few years, the business is closed and the applicant disappears. Sometimes the dodgy applicants simply rinse and repeat, running the same system over and over again to stay in Australia for as long as possible, whilst others return home after their lengthy and rather expensive “holidays.”

The fact of the matter is, these people have the money to circumvent our Border protection and, to them, a few hundred grand to soak up the Australian sun is no big deal… but it’s illegal.

With what we’ve exposed, Precise Investigation and our client are looking to approach relevant media and Government agencies in an attempt to raise awareness of the matter and, hopefully, prevent it from happening in the future.

PLEASE NOTE: To protect the privacy of our clients, all names, figures and addresses have been changed to protect the innocent and the accused. We have chosen fictitious names, addresses and photographs to represent real people and their stories

Thank you – Image credit: Merel Schoneveld

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