A warning has been issued for migration and visa fraud in Australia as new court cases show perpetrators preying on those seeking help with applications.

An Albanian national has been sentenced to 14 months' jail in Melbourne while a former registered migration agent is facing up to 10 years' imprisonment after pleading guilty to multiple fraud offences in Sydney.


Migration agents in Australia are required by law to be registered​

'These outcomes show that the penalties for fraudulently obtaining visas or permanent residence in Australia are not worth the risk,' said Michaelia Cash, Assistant Minister for Immigration and Border Protection.

'The Department of Immigration and Border Protection takes allegations of migration fraud very seriously and the department and the courts will act against those who attempt to defraud our migration programmes,' she added.

Albanian Jani Vata and his wife Vjollce Marashi faced charges in Melbourne Magistrates Court for using multiple false identities in applications for Australian visas, passports and citizenship. Jani Vata was sentenced to 14 months' jail.

At Sydney Downing Centre District Court former Chinatown-based registered migration agent Xiao Ying Wu (Amy Wu) pled guilty to multiple fraud offences including the use of forged departmental correspondence and deceiving former clients who were seeking assistance with their visa applications.

Affected clients claimed Wu dishonestly obtained more than $80,000 in return for visa application services that were never delivered. She will be sentenced at a later date.

Cash pointed out that migration agents in Australia are required by law to be registered with the Office of the Migration Agents Registration Authority (MARA.)

The new government is taking steps to ensure that asylum seekers who arrived by illegal boat released into the community and facing criminal charges are taken back into detention and clear standards applied to those granted the privilege of living in the community.

'The rising number of serious offences alleged against illegal boat arrivals released into the community on bridging visas or into community detention is of great concern. We are putting strong measures in place to get the programme under control,' said Immigration and Border Protection Minister Scott Morrison.

'Visas are being cancelled for those charged with criminal offences and they are being taken back into formal held detention. Address details are being provided to the police and mandatory behaviour protocols for all those who have been released into the community, as promised prior to the election, are being developed for consideration by the government prior to implementation,' he explained.