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Jail sentence for visa document fraudster

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One Australian man who received payments totalling thousands of dollars to produce false documents in support of skills assessment applications for permanent residency visas has been handed a 33-month jail sentence.

The Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) revealed that up to 541 falsified documents were produced by Carmine Amarante, who had been identified in a multi-jurisdictional investigation as a facilitator of immigration fraud.

"This conviction should serve as a reminder to the community that the department and the courts will act swiftly against those who attempt to defraud our migration programs," said a DIAC spokesperson earlier this month.

According to the DIAC, this conviction highlights the department's recent fraud provision changes, which came into place earlier this year.

The changes mean that when misleading or false information is presented to DIAC in association with an Australian visa application, this application can be cancelled or refused.

"Prior to this change, when fraudulent information has been provided in association with an application, it has been possible for the applicant to subsequently provide non-fraudulent information to meet requirements," the DIAC representative explained.

But under the new law, misleading, false, incorrect or falsified information supplied during any stage of the application process can be considered grounds for refusal.

"This includes information provided to third parties such as skills assessing authorities and English language test providers," the DIAC added, underscoring migration fraud as a "serious matter".

Documents supplied by Amarante related to 39 Victoria-based businesses and were lodged to Trades Recognition Australia in support of sponsorship and skills assessment applications - the majority of which resulted in a positive grant.

Businesses that were complicit in the scam are now facing investigation by the DIAC and the Australian Federal Police.

This type of fraud case also highlights the important role the Migration Alliance can play in strengthening the migration agent profession. Our membership organisation works to foster co-operation between members to act in the national interest and provide expert professional advice to consumers.

We work closely with the DIAC to ensure positive outcomes for the industry and accredited migration agents find there are a number of benefits to joining our organisation.

We stand for coherence and co-operation across the sector and advocate for registered Australian migration agents - you'll also find we offer valuable networking opportunities at in-person events and via our online forums.

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