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The backlash continues...

The backlash continues...

Australia's migration agents are still finding it hard to forgive Dave Noonan, national construction secretary of the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU), for comments he made in a Sydney Morning Herald article on July 24.

In the article, Mr Noonan said that the 457 visa system was being abused, and that anyone who said otherwise was "deluded and out of touch".

He added that some of the migration agents in Australia could be to blame, accusing them of "making an absolute squillion" by rorting the 457 visa system.

Needless to say, many of the accused were horrified by such suggestions. Christopher Levingston, who will be spearheading the Migration Conferences 2013 as they travel the length and breadth of Australia, was just one of many who said that he was "heartily sick" of people in his profession being unfairly blamed for any and all issues that cropped up in the 457 visa system.

Brendan Darcy, convenor of Migration Alliance, has now added his voice to the chorus of dissent.

On Wednesday, he called the CFMEU's seeming campaign against Australian migration agents "repugnant" as well as "misinformed".

As head of the CRMEU, Mr Noonan "invites Australians to trust his judgment on migration law and practice," Mr Darcy said. 

"Yet he has relied on ancient data from 2008 to rubbish the reputation of registered migration agents."

Mr Darcy added that Mr Noonan had "wilfully" failed to account for the role unregistered offshore agents play in providing services to those migrating Down Under.

Australia's registered migration agents are doing their utmost to work with the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) and within the law, to ensure the the integrity of the 457 visa system is maintained on a daily basis.

Mr Darcy believes our migration system is arguably one of the most "compliance-driven and risk-adverse programs in the Western world".

He does, however, feel that one small step could be taken that may prevent visa fraud from taking place.

That is creating legislation to ensure applicants from high-risk countries are required to lodge with Australian migration agents that have been registered with the Office of Migration Agents Registration Authority.

"Such a move would help to dramatically reduce fraud and increase decision-ready applications," Mr Darcy announced.

He has urged the government and opposition to consider taking this important step.

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