Fake doctor case highlights need for tougher visa checks in Australia

by Ray Clancy on March 10, 2017

in Immigration Documentation

The case of a man who masqueraded and worked as a doctor in Australia for over a decade is being used as an example of why visa and qualification checks need to be tougher.

Shyan Acharya had arrived for the first time in Australia in 2002 on a tourist visa before leaving and then arriving again several times on different visas, pretending to be a doctor and working for 11 years in various hospital roles.

He is now on the run and when asked about how he had been able to do this Immigration Minister Peter Dutton admitted mistakes had been made but said processes are now more strict than when he first entered the country and said it is an example of why immigration rules need to be tighter.

Dutton admitted the case is a ‘big failing of the system’ and said it shows that the idea of creating a bigger US Homeland Security style department is worth considering. He believes that people are able to slip through because there is a lack of sharing information and communication between agencies.

‘Obviously there’s been a big failing of the system, whether it’s at a federal or state level doesn’t really matter, the lesson needs to be learned,’ Dutton he told 2GB radio.

‘I get accused all the time of being too tough on these processes and cancelling visas and all the rest of it but these are exactly the cases that we want to identify, stop these people before they get here,’ he added.

He explained that the idea of a super department has been discussed for a long time but this case highlights the need for further consideration.

‘Have a look at this doctor by way of one example. We have these cases where you necessarily want to make sure you’re getting access to all the information that whatever government department holds on that person. We just live in a very different age than 10 years ago, let alone 15 to 20 years go,’ Dutton pointed out.

Even if he is caught, and he may have left the country by now, Acharya would only face a fine of $30,000 and no jail term for falsely claiming to be a doctor.

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