Five arrested over fraudulent marriage scam, 164 foreign nationals’ visa refused

By @chelean on
Indian wedding
The long-running operation by the Australian Border Force saw 164 foreign nationals having their applications for a Partner visa refused for their link to an elaborate contrived marriage syndicate targeting South Asian nationals. Creative Commons

An elaborate contrived marriage syndicate in Sydney has been shut down following the arrest of one Indian national and four Australian citizens involved in the scheme. The long-running operation by the Australian Border Force also saw 164 foreign nationals having their applications for a Partner visa refused for their link to the syndicate.

According to the ABF, this syndicate had been targeting non-citizens in the South Asian community, often vulnerable young women, many of which came from disadvantages and low socio-economic backgrounds. To enter or stay in Australia, they would pay a significant sum of money to the facilitator.

One Indian national, 32, faced court on Oct. 30 as the main facilitator. He was charged with four counts of arranging a marriage to obtain permanent residence, which is contrary to Section 240 of the Migration Act 1958. He could face up to 10 years imprisonment and/or fined up to $210,000. Four Australian citizens were also charged for allegedly convincing individuals to fraudulently marry non-citizens seeking to obtain permanent residency.

“Many of the women involved in these scams have suffered a history of substance abuse, family violence and financial hardship, and are lured in with promises of substantial payments,” ABF Acting Investigations Commander Clinton Sims said. “Those seeking a visa through a contrived marriage also need to understand that paying a facilitator will not buy them a permanent visa pathway in Australia. There is rarely any financial recourse in the event that their Partner visa application is unsuccessful.”

He added that this type of syndicates undermined the integrity of the country’s visa programs. “Protecting the integrity of the visa system is an operational priority for the ABF and anyone found to be involved in, or facilitating sham marriages should expect to be investigated and face criminal prosecution. Registered agents and marriage celebrants also face losing their registration.”

Alleged fraudulent marriage scam

Source: The Australian Border Force Image Library

Alleged fraudulent marriage scam

Source: The Australian Border Force Image Library

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