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Fraudulent Work Visas Creating Vulnerable Labor Underclass

08/11/2022BY Migrate 2 Oz

Fraudulent work visas are generating a vulnerable labor underclass

While the government of Australia is launching a comprehensive review of the migration policy, concerns about illegal labor have been fueled by reports that visa frauds may have brought as many as 100,000 workers into the country under fraudulent claims that have clogged the system.

According to a recent warning about human trafficking, the programs have left Australia with a burgeoning underclass of employees who are waiting on a court system that takes, on average, 812 days to determine each case.

Former head of the Treasury Martin Parkinson will lead a review of the visa system, with another review to look at migration scams.

Former Treasury secretary Martin Parkinson has been appointed by the federal government to review the visa system, but a second probe is being planned to look into migration schemes.

Parkinson stated categorically that the migration system was broken.

According to him, “it leaves open the chance that, in certain situations, migrants are susceptible to exploitation" because of the system’s complexity and difficulty of use by both potential migrants and employers.

Therefore, “it has to be simpler for everyone in the system," “it has to be equal for migrants and the Australian populace," and “it has to contribute to our general prosperity."

About 40,000 individuals, according to official data, have landed in Australian airports and attempted to remain, but their first claims have been denied and they are now waiting two years for verdicts from the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.

A further 32,000 have had their applications denied at the tribunal but are still in Australia, often because they cannot be located and deported, according to a study by former immigration department deputy secretary Abul Rizvi.

An additional 27,000 individuals are already residing in Australia after landing at airports and seeking asylum, a trend that has seen a spike in “unmeritorious" applications from people using tourist visas to arrive from countries like Malaysia, China, and India.

After an extensive investigation by The Age, The Sydney Morning Herald, and 60 Minutes revealed claims of systemic visa fraud connected to sex trafficking, drug offenses, and the abuse of foreign employees, the government launched an inquiry of its own.

According to Rizvi, “industrial scale" visa rooting was uncovered by the Trafficked probe.

According to him, “one migration agency has been engaged in roughly 150 false asylum petitions," and this is highlighted in the Trafficked probe.

However, almost 100,000 false asylum claims have been filed in Australia since 2014, suggesting that hundreds of such agents are at work there, with some filing thousands of applications.

Tales of shady people posing as migration agents are nothing new. What’s different now is the scale at which it’s happening, on an industrial level, and the tremendous number of failed asylum seekers who are forced to live in the shadows of Australian society.

Tourist visa holders are encouraged to make asylum claims upon arrival and work illegally while their applications are being evaluated.

Matthew Kunkel, head of the Migrant Workers Centre, an advocacy group for exploited workers, stated that it was “tough to count what you can’t see" due to the country’s visa system, which put many individuals in a grey legal area.

He remarked, “There is a fundamental lack of regulation, therefore more needs to be done to drive out the unscrupulous actors that prey on people and their dreams."

And there has to be a mechanism in place where you don’t have to wait around for a ruling for two years.

According to “Lives in Limbo," a report published in September by the Migrant Employees Centre, 65% of workers on temporary visas experienced wage theft in the previous year.

On Monday, Home Affairs Minister Clare O’Neil announced the Parkinson study and said she would soon announce a separate probe into migration schemes. Meanwhile, Immigration Minister Andrew Giles signaled additional measures to safeguard vulnerable workers.

Giles blamed the previous Coalition government for the immigration system’s current state, saying it was “exploited time and time again by unscrupulous operators and human traffickers," with evidence from the Trafficked inquiry.

According to Rizvi, there are 100,000 unemployed persons in the nation based on data from the Department of Home Affairs and the Administrative Appeals Tribunal that reveal the number of people whose applications were denied but who are still in the country.