Fraudulent migration agents pile on Chinese asylum claims

December 10, 2018

The number of Chinese nationals applying for refugee asylum in Australia has risen by 311 per cent in just one year, according to figures from the Department of Home Affairs.

The Conservative Party has called for a halving of the immigration intake and a radical revamp of the rorted visa system.

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The ABC reports, onshore protection visa applications from those who arrived by plane from the People's Republic of China jumped from 2,269 in 2016-17 to 9,315 in 2017-18, the data reveals.

Despite the surge in claims, Chinese nationals had one of the lowest success rates for protection visas, with the Department only recognising 10 per cent of those claims as being genuine.

Transcripts from hearings at the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT), which has the power to overturn decisions made by the Department of Home Affairs, reveal a range of reasons applicants claim to be refugees, including being: a love child, Christian, a cult member or LGBT.

Many claimants are arriving on temporary migrant visas such as international student visas, of which there are 652,000 currently studying in Australia — including almost 200,000 are from China, according to the federal Department of Education.

There has also been a surge in the number of asylum seekers appealing protection visa rejections to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT).

The Tribunal's 2017-18 report said the number of appeals from Chinese nationals had increased by 135 per cent since the last financial year, now making up 25 per cent of all protection visa appeals.

It added that only 5 per cent of all appeals were successful.

Experts say the significant number of appealing applicants who do not show up to hearings raises further concerns that the process is being abused by fraudulent claims in a bid by some visa holders to extend their stay.

Refugee Council of Australia director of policy Joyce Chia said cases of migration agents fraudulently lodging asylum claims for protection visas on their client's behalf was also an issue.

"We also have certainly heard of fraudulent migration agents promising the world to people in relation to protection visas," she said.

"This is also what the department has indicated to us in relation to Malaysian claims, as well that there are certain agents who are promoting it as a way to stay in Australia often unregistered or beyond the regulatory regime."

Just last Wednesday in the Senate, Conservative Party leader Cory Bernardi highlighted the delayed release of the Statutory Review by former High Court justice the Honourable Ian Callinan AC QC into the regulatory system being gamed by migration agents.

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