The rampant abuse of the employer sponsored visa program goes on unchecked for a very good reason
The Sydney Morning Herald (SMH) recently revealed a recording of an interesting conversation between Eric, a franchisee of a large retail chain who is selling a sponsored employment position, and Jon, who is seeking a sponsorship position. But Jon is really undercover for a FairFax media investigation.In this conversation, Eric offers Jon visa sponsorship in return for a very hefty sum of over $100K+, not inclusive of application and lawyer fees. Eric pushes the sale saying that he has only one position and that it is in high demand. Of course under recent laws ,such an offer of sponsorship in exchange for reward is a criminal offence, and individuals who pay for sponsorship is also committing a crime.
The Department of Immigration and Border Protection introduced these regulations back in December 2015 in vain attempt to stop conversations of this nature turning into reality. Clearly is hasn’t been enough. From my experience in investigating these activities, these laws are designed to look impressive but in fact are really there to keep it all swept under the carpet.
Occasionally stories like this will emerge, but despite the good intentions of the journalists who write them, these publications will do little to effect change. Why not, you ask?
It is all to do with the design of laws. The prosecution of any criminal act relies upon evidence. However the DIBP’s enthusiasm to label those who seek to pay for sponsorship as criminals is now keeping the Genie in the bottle. The DIBP would be drooling have real evidence to bag Eric and Jon, two potential criminals in one swoop but of course a taped telephone conversation arranged by a newspaper would would hardly cut the mustard.
Bagging two people in one go would seem a fairly cost effective way of running the criminal justice system except for one obvious problem, no criminal investigator is going to be able to obtain a witness statement from either party. Very rarely would you get a statement from a criminal suspect implicating themselves in having involvement in a crime, unless of course you are watching television and this all is wrapped up in 60 minutes, conviction and all.
Of course the DIBP knows this. The new laws implemented in December 2015 are really about keeping it all quiet so the poor victims ripped off by the Eric’s of this world, after paying tens of thousands of dollars and never actually receive their sponsorship, are never going to complain.
In reality the person on this tape, whoever he may be, is not interested in the $100-150K price tag he is mentioning. I mean after all, why restrict ones potential. No doubt Eric has 220 people hanging on to this offer and these hopeful individuals may all give him say, $30,000 as deposit to hold the position for them, believing that they alone will be fortunate enough to be sponsored. Of course none of them will receive the sponsorship and Eric will walk away with a cool $6 million dollars in his offshore bank account and retire to a life of luxury in a foreign country.
And will Eric ever be caught? Of course not. He won’t be caught because none of the victims will dare to contact the police to report the crime as they too will be charged with a criminal offence.
In fact Eric may even be emboldened by his windfall and decide he is on to a good business here and continue running this cash enterprise scheme. If he is clever, like one well known, convicted fraudster, known to the DIBP, he will even place it in writing that the money received is not for the payment for sponsorship, but in payment for recruitment services, sponsorship just gets thrown in for free out of goodwill. If he does this then he may remain in Australia indefinitely with an endless supply of clients who are all too willing to hand over $20-30,000 for a sponsored job.
Thus a new organised crime activities have evolved in Australia and the DIBP has ensured that it rarely comes to light as it did famously before December 2015. We know that the DIBP attitude is that those who pay for sponsorship are complicit in a crime and since it only affects foreign visitors, the DIBP cares little for them or that fact that organised crime gangs are now increasing, not decreasing.
I have to hand it to you Mr. Dutton for you certainly have given a new meaning to the Silence of the Lambs.