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Migration agent refutes DIAC claims

Migration agent refutes DIAC claims

A well-known migration agent in Victoria has been the subject of an investigation into alleged ties to a fake marriage and relationship scam.

The Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) executed a warrant on Tuesday (December 18), which saw documents and computer equipment seized as part of their investigation into the supposed rort. The items taken will now be examined as a result of extensive inquiries into the agent's activities.

A DIAC spokesperson said: "It would be premature to say whether charges will be laid as a result of this operation.

"The department takes allegations of immigration fraud very seriously.  Any activities that undermine the integrity of Australia's immigration visa regime will not be tolerated by authorities."

The agent in question asked to have his identity kept secret but has spoken out against the claims - telling Migration Alliance's Liana Allan that he is innocent.

He said: "The outcome of the investigation will show that I did not and have not done anything wrong.

"[My role is to] protect the legal right of customers whilst following the Migration Agents Code of Conduct."

The DIAC's allegations included that the agent arranged falsified partners for people from Vietnam.

The spokesperson for the department said the investigation is still in its infancy and as a result, lodged visa applications shouldn't be subject to speculation. But any application associated with this operation and this migration agent would subsequently be fully scrutinised.

The department is asking for members of the public to report any information they have about fraud.

Ms Allan, a founding member of Migration Alliance, has hit out against the DIAC, saying their time would be better spent in self-reflection.

She commented: "It's about time the DIAC provided the public with unbiased reporting and started to turn the spotlight in on themselves, rather than out on registered migration agents." 

"DIAC officers don't have evidence of sound knowledge like agents do, and DIAC officers do not have to complete ten points of professional development each year like agents do. It would be more interesting if DIAC published a story on the scandals going on within their own ranks than creating sensational headlines about agents which almost always end up going nowhere."

The investigation into the alleged marriage scam is continuing.

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