‘Scam’ marriages investigated

Portrait of bride and groom by church
Portrait of bride and groom by church

The Community Newspaper Group (CNG) contacted the department after a middle-aged man from the south-eastern suburbs said he was allegedly betrayed by a Chinese woman who tricked him into marrying him.

He said the woman left him within weeks of gaining permanent residency and also left him with sexually transmitted infections. He is being tested for HIV.

He asked a politician to write to the Department of Immigration and Citizenship, on his behalf, with his story about the ‘scam’ marriage. The man’s story appeared online and in local CNG newspapers.

The Department of Immigration and Citizenship said it was unable to provide details about individual cases, because it needed to protect people’s privacy.

However, a department spokeswoman said a partner visa was a two-stage process.

‘The staggered approach allows for the relationship to be assessed rigorously at various stages to ensure that only applicants who are in a genuine and continual relationship, are granted permanent residency,’ the spokeswoman said.

‘At the first stage, the applicant is granted a temporary partner visa, followed by a permanent residency at second stage, usually two years after they lodge their visa applications.’

The spokeswoman said the department took very seriously allegations of fraud and misconduct in regard to migration provisions.

‘All claims of fraud or misconduct are thoroughly investigated by the department,’ she said. ‘Even though the process of such investigations and their results are not always able to be made public because of privacy obligations.’

The department spokeswoman said where a relationship was found to be non-genuine or the relationship breaks down, the visa application may be refused or the visa cancelled.

‘A visa can be refused or cancelled where a non genuine relationship is identified,’ the spokeswoman said.

‘There are also provisions under the Migration Act to prosecute people who provide false or misleading information to the department.’

The spokeswoman said the Marriage Act of 1961 determines what constitutes a valid marriage in Australia, and it is the responsibility of the Attorney General and the Attorney General’s department.

Read last week’s story here.