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Immigration Lawyers Melbourne

The 457 ‘Visa Factory’ & The 7/11 Debacle

On 17 September 2015, the Minister for Immigration, Peter Dutton introduced legislation into Parliament to make it a criminal offence for a sponsor to be paid by a visa applicant in return for securing a migration outcome.

‘Payment for visas’ conduct is not currently unlawful. However a key recommendation of the independent review into the subclass 457 program was that legislation be introduced to strengthen the integrity of the program by allowing action to be taken where ‘payment for visas’ conduct has occurred. In his second reading speech of the Migration Amendment (Charging for a Migration Outcome) Bill 2015, Mr. Dutton stated that this offer to sponsor in return for a payment or benefit may take place both before the applicant applies for a visa or during the visa holder’s stay in Australia.

This Bill seems to have been introduced right on the cusp of breaking news, that foreigners have been paying between $25,000 and $70,000 to certain 7-Eleven franchises to sponsor them on a visa. In what seems to be the biggest ‘visa factory’ scandal in recent years, foreign students, as well as workers on 457 visas are understood to be part of the “visa factory” scam operated by some 7-Eleven franchisees. The model has franchisees charging workers $25,000 to $70,000 to sponsor them on a visa.

Amidst evidence of students being forced to work up to 80 hours per week for $14 an hour, and being subdued into silence with threats of termination and being reported to Immigration authorities, the Fair Work Ombudsman has also become involved in the matter.

For assistance with issues relevant to those highlighted above, and other any immigration related matters, do not hesitate to contact us via phone or email, or submit a booking enquiry online at http://erskinerodan.com.au.

Telephone: (03) 9329 8744

Email: info@eskinerodan.com.au

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