Be  wary of unregistered migration agents

The sentencing of an unregistered migration agent in Adelaide serves as a warning to illegal operators that the risks are high and they would be caught, a Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) spokesman said today.

Harry Alevizos of Clearview pleaded guilty in the Adelaide Magistrates Court to a large number of offences under state and federal legislation which involved him falsely taking money to represent people in migration matters when he was not a registered agent.

Alevizos was today sentenced to two years’ jail on the federal offences and two years on the state offences, which were suspended because of his age, health and family reasons.

He was told by Magistrate Cathy Deland the offences were extremely serious and they were committed on vulnerable people.

-The complaints about this man’s actions speak for themselves – people should be wary of unregistered migration agents, the DIAC spokesman said. -This man, and others like him, are on notice. The department knows what you’re up to, we’re investigating and we will bring you to account. You might even end up in jail.

-DIAC assisted in an investigation into this matter after complaints were made to South Australian Police.

-This successful cooperation led to these charges and successful prosecution. This man was charged with taking almost $14 000 from unsuspecting victims who had sought help from a person who purported to be able to help them but in fact could not.

The government established the Office of the Migration Agents Registration Authority (Office of the MARA), which began operating on July 1, to help crack down on such activity and restore confidence in the regulation of this industry.

-Unprofessional, incompetent or unethical behaviour by migration agents affects the lives of consumers, challenges the integrity of Australia’s visa program and brings the entire profession of more than 4000 migration agents into disrepute, the spokesman said.

-As migration decisions are life-changing and involve considerable financial and emotional investments on behalf of prospective migrants, it is important they have confidence in the professionalism and integrity of their migration agent.

Office of the MARA chief executive Christine Sykes said the successful prosecution served as a timely reminder for people seeking migration advice to consider their options carefully.

-I strongly urge any person who has need of the services of a migration agent to ensure the person they become involved with is registered with the Office of the MARA, Ms Sykes said.

To obtain a free copy of the Immigration Assistance Booklet produced by the Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship, send an email to info@ausvisa.info

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