An Indian citizen who allegedly masterminded a marriage visa scam in Australia has been sued to court. The scam involved over 150 applicants from South Asia, who wanted a partner visa and were ready to pay huge amounts of money to keep living in Australia.
The Indian, Jagjit Singh, 32, is accused of being the brain behind the scam and has been sued to court for arranging four fake marriages in order to obtain permanent residency.
On the other hand, the Australian Border Force revealed that there have been 164 applicants for the partner visa who were refused visas because they were connected to Singh's scam.
Four other suspects were also accused in court because they convinced Australian citizens to marry those seeking partner visas. They were sued for breaking the Migration Act and Criminal Code.
Who were their targets?
The commander of the Australian Border Force (ABF)
, Clinton Sims, disclosed that these criminals targeted and lured vulnerable Australian women who were facing hardship and who had been victims of domestic violence, with the promise of a monetary reward.
Jagjit Singh is facing charges that have a maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment or a fine of $210,000. He denied knowing the person behind the entire plan and that he only helped them sometimes.
The court hearing has however been moved to January 8, 2019.
Commander Sims went further to emphasize that the ABF has it as a top priority to maintain and protect the integrity of the Australian visa system. They would not deal lightly with anyone who was caught arranging fake marriages; as such people would be investigated and prosecuted. He warned that marriage celebrants and registered agents would stand a high risk of losing their registration.
In February 2017, a couple in, after arranging 16 sham marriages that involved mainly Indian men, was prosecuted and after that, jailed.
But earlier this year, the couple appealed their case and won. The won appeal was however for just one instance of the sham marriages.
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