Phony marriages and bogus skilled migration are bigger threats to Australia’s borders than boat people, according to research from Charles Darwin University.
Dr Malcolm Mackellar, who will be awarded a PhD from CDU at this week’s mid-year graduation ceremony, explored some of the schemes used by illegal immigrants, particularly from Asia, to circumvent Australia’s visa entry requirements.
“While public perception and news headlines continue to focus on illegal immigration from boat people, in reality there continues to be far more illegal immigration via shoddy marriages, fraudulent students, and bogus skilled migration, across a wider spectrum of visa misuse,” Dr Mackellar said.
A former immigration officer with the Department of Immigration, he had aimed to discover how illegal immigrants could continue to come to and remain in Australia, given this country’s strict visa entry system.
He found that from 1984 to 2004 Australia’s “controlled” immigration policy was poorly controlled.
“At the time I did my PhD research, I was a serving immigration officer in the Department's enforcement branch,” Dr Mackellar said.
“Although it is nine years since I retired from the Department, I am sure that the results of my research in relation to illegal immigration from Asia are just as relevant today.”
Dr Mackellar said that during the period under analysis, it was revealed that Australia’s visa entry system consisted of procedures that could be manipulated, processes that could be fabricated, and documents that could be forged.
He said that with less emphasis on documentary process and more emphasis on personal assessment, Australia’s immigration program could be better controlled.
The research included interviews with illegal immigrants, a survey of applicants who were refused refugee status, investigations into various forms of visa misuse, and observations over a 20-year period.