Australian immigration officials under fire for ‘corrupt’ issuing of skilled and student visas


  • Officials under fire for alleged corruption issuing skilled and student visas
  • It was revealed in a joint investigation by Fairfax Media and the ABC 
  • 132 cases of suspected corruption were referred to the national watchdog
  • Indian community leader in Melbourne said he’d been offered a part in a visa scamming scheme  
  • Former construction worker said his company was sponsoring Irish nationals for jobs that did not exist

Officials working in Australian immigration have come under fire for alleged corruption involving the issuing and processing of fake skilled and student visas.

A Fairfax Media and ABC investigation found Immigration department chief Michael Pezzullo referred 132 cases of suspected corruption in the department to the Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity.

The Australian Border Force spent the last year investigating criminal syndicated involved in rorting the visa system, reported PerthNow.

Joseph Petyanszki, a former top official in the immigration department, reportedly said visa rorting has been and is still endemic.

Mr Petyanszki told the ABC: ‘In the border security debate, it has been easy to deflect the public’s attention to boat arrivals.

‘But this fearmongering has totally ignored where the vast bulk of real fraud is, most significantly undermining our immigration programs.’


Melbourne Indian community leader Jasvinder Sidhu told the ABC he had been in touch with a visa fixer, who offered him a part in the visa scamming scheme.

Mr Sidhu said that people were effectively paying ‘for a phantom job’ and in return getting ‘a skilled visa’.

‘So you’re paying to create a job that doesn’t exist and to create a service which was never delivered. And you’re getting permanent residency which is not fake. This is real.’

He said multiple sponsorship were being offered in commercial cookery, mechanics and IT.

Mr Sidhu fake timesheets, fake payslips and pay in bank accounts would be created, including superannuation and other related documents.

He said he was concerned about the way people were being exploited with fake visas.

He said people were paying up to $50,000 and living in terrible conditions, with up to ten people in one house, lack of food and long working hours.


He also said there have been complaints of sexual assault against employers and injuries at work.

Former Murphy Pipe and Civil employee Clint Raven told the ABC visa rorting took place while he worked for the multinational construction contractor.

He said the company was sponsoring Irish nationals for jobs that did not exist.

‘As a business we were issuing or sponsoring visas for workers as project coordinators, project administrators, where that role didn’t exist on our site and these people, their actual jobs was as a labourer on the ground,’ Mr Raven said.

He said the issue was that Australians were missing out on jobs and people were getting ahead in a queue to gain residency into Australia on the grounds of a mythical labor shortage.

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