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Immigration Work Abroad

Chinese migration agent’s OZ licence culled

Australia’s immigration authority has cancelled the licence of a Chinese immigration agent, following “a number of complaints about applications for protection visas”.

The Sydney-based migration agent failed in her bid to have a decision to cancel her registration overturned, with the Administrative Review Tribunal (AAT) confirming the decision by the Office of the Migration Agents Registration Authority (OMARA).

The Authority found that Weiming Qian had failed to competently and diligently assist her clients and act on their instructions, manufactured or encouraged the manufacture of claims for protection visas, failed to attend with her clients at the Refugee Review Tribunal and the former Federal Magistrates Court for appointed hearings and prepared applications for judicial review when not qualified.

A migration agent has a duty to act in the lawful interests of a client and this agent’s conduct was clearly not in her clients’ interests, a spokesman for the Department of Immigration and Border Protection said.

“She deliberately undermined the protection visa programme at every stage, the lodgement of applications for visa processing and review proceedings before the Refugee Review Tribunal and the courts.”

The AAT found the scale of the complaints indicated entrenched poor practice and found the decision made by the OMARA to cancel Ms Qian’s registration as a migration agent was correct, as was the decision that she could not be re-registered for five years.

“Only people who are registered with the OMARA are permitted to give immigration assistance,” the spokesman said.

“Registered agents must meet a code of conduct and be a fit and proper person to provide immigration assistance.”

There are more than 5000 registered migration agents in Australia and overseas who can provide immigration assistance. People wishing to find out whether an individual is registered as a migration agent can go to the Authority’s website,


81 Iranians told ‘No place in Australia’

The Australian government has told 81 Iranian asylum seekers that they will not be allowed to settle in Australia.

The people who arrived by boat at Christmas Island over the weekend are coming to the realisation their dangerous journey has been futile.

The 81 Iranians were told by the Immigration authorities they would not be able to settle in Australia, based on new asylum processing arrangements urgently announced on Friday.

In the message delivered at North West Point Immigration Detention Centre (NWP IDC) at Christmas Island, they were told of the new arrangement between Australia and PNG.


This is the first vessel to berth at Christmas Island after the changed policy was announced. As per the new policy, people who arrived without a visa would not be allowed to live in Australia.  Instead, they would be sent to Papua New Guinea and settled there, the Australian Prime Minister said.

Australia plans to send these people to PNG’s Manus Island, beginning with single men and later including women and children, The Australian reported.

Department of Immigration and Citizenship acting regional manager Steven Karras said the new arrivals listened calmly to the message.

“In this case, the message we did give them was quite clear, in terms of where they will be processed and I think that probably sank in a bit,” Steven said.

He said a number of the clients said if they’d known the rules had changed, they wouldn’t have come to Australia on a people smuggler’s boat.

“It was apparent to me that they did understand what this message meant,” he said.

“I’m sure they’re now thinking about whether it was wise to come in the first place.

“And I think in fact over the coming days…they will start to contemplate very seriously whether in fact returning home is a better option.”

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Detaining refugees is ineffective – expert

New Zealand Government’s proposed group detention policy appears to be following the failed policies of Australia, says an international authority on detained asylum seekers.

Professor Derrick Silove  is in New Zealand to warn New Zealand politicians they have a lot to learn from failures across the Tasman.

“Instead of providing rehabilitation for refugees, governments have gone to costly lengths to reproduce the environment of fear from which these people have fled, hindering psychological recovery,” he says.

Derrick is the director of psychiatry research and teaching at the Mental Health Centre at the University of New South Wales. He is coming to New Zealand as the keynote speaker at the fifth International Asian and Ethnic Minority Health and Wellbeing Conference 2012, hosted by the University of Auckland.

Derrick has helped in setting up services for traumatic stress among refugees in Australia and internationally in post-conflict societies, such as Timor Leste.

He has led teams to study the effects of Australian detention policies on women and children in refugee camps.

“Centres in Australia, such as the newly established facility in Woomera, are situated in isolated areas surrounded by barbed-wire fences with huge distances limiting access by social, health and legal services,” Derrick says.

“Detainees in this and other centres around the world face undefined periods of social and cultural isolation while often being denied access to work and study.

“They live in constant uncertainty about their futures with the ever-present threat of being forced back home.

“Alternative systems to detention have been tested and already are in place in many countries such as systems that monitor asylum seekers living in the community, lodging financial bonds by families, friends, or humanitarian agencies to ensure refugee applicants follow immigration procedures and even temporary forms of asylum.”

Derrick says each provision allows asylum seekers to live with dignity and a degree of freedom in the community.

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Unregistered migration agent fined

An Australian citizen has been fined $12,000 by a Perth court for providing immigration assistance while not a registered migration agent.

The Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) says the sentence sends a strong warning that illegal operators in the migration industry will not be tolerated.

Pacita Boynes, who was previously convicted on similar matters, pleaded guilty to 13 charges under the Migration Act 1958, for offences including making false statements on visa applications and referring people to work in breach of visa conditions.

In Australia, migration agents must be registered with the Office of the Migration Agents Registration Authority.

DIAC began an investigation of the woman after receiving a complaint from one of her clients and found her acting without accreditation as a migration agent for dozens of individuals or businesses on temporary skilled migration matters.

She is suspected of earning more than $100 000 by charging fees to both businesses and visa applicants for migration services.

In November 2010, Boynes had to pay the Commonwealth $50,000 under the first successful proceeds of crime action for migration fraud for her work as an unregistered migration agent.

A DIAC spokesman said anyone found to be providing unregistered immigration assistance can face charges under the Migration Act with penalties ranging from two to 10 years’ imprisonment and/or fines.

“The Australian Government will not tolerate illegal operators posing as migration professionals,” the spokesman said.

“Migration decisions involve considerable financial and emotional investments on behalf of prospective migrants. Unprofessional, incompetent or unethical behaviour by unregistered individuals challenge the integrity of Australia’s visa programme and brings the entire profession of more than 4500 registered migration agents into disrepute.”

Anyone found to have obtained a visa based on fraudulent information will be considered for cancellation, and any future applications may be refused under new provisions introduced in April 2011. People working in breach of visa conditions also face visa cancellation.

Earlier, a Perth man was prosecuted in August 2011 for supplying illegal workers to West Australian businesses.

In Australia, migration agents must be registered with the Office of the Migration Agents Registration Authority (MARA). A list of registered migration agents in Australia is also available on the website.

Agents Outside Australia: Migration agents who operate outside Australia do not have to be registered. The MARA department may give some overseas agents an identification (ID) number. This number does not mean they are registered.