The numbers are mounting for immigration consultants, who have been accused of overcharging clients.
Key points:More than 100 immigration consultants have been charged with overcharging businesses in Sydney over the past yearThe number of immigration consultants charged with fraud in the last two years has more than doubledThe number charged with $3 million or more in fraudulent fees is on the riseThe number has more hit a new high this year of more than 100 consultants being charged with fraudulent fees.
The crackdown has been met with widespread criticism, with immigration consultants warning of a rise in fraud and abuse, and calling for a change in how they are funded.
The latest figures released by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) reveal the number of people charged with making fraudulent claims has more likely tripled in just the last 12 months.
The ACCC’s Fraud Monitoring Unit launched an investigation into the alleged fraud in January, finding that there had been “more than 100” people charged since then.
It has been a major financial drain on businesses, and is believed to have cost them up to $3.6 million in fees.
In its report, the ACCC found that while fraud charges had been down since 2014, there had also been a “significant increase” in charges for other types of fraud, including “lobbying” and “undermining” the eligibility of a person to enter Australia.
The number and types of charges increased from 1,908 in 2014 to 2,087 in the first quarter of this year, it found.
The figures come after an investigation by the ABC revealed that the number and charges of people being charged for fraudulent claims had increased over the last three years.
In a joint investigation with the ABC, the ABC has identified more than 10 consultants who were charged with breaching fraud rules in 2017.
We’ve got the number, but we’ve also got the type, and we’re not going to identify them for the reasons that we have.
It’s for the integrity of the process, for the public’s interest, and the integrity that the Australian public expects from a government agency.
The ABC has also found that the rate of fraud cases is on an increase.
There are currently more than 2,500 fraud cases being processed by the Fraud Monitoring Units across Australia, according to data provided by the ACCAC.
The numbers have more than tripled in the past two years, with a total of more people being investigated for fraud in 2017 than in all of last year.
In the 12 months to June 2017, more than 700 people were investigated for false charges, with 2,534 people being assessed as “in breach” of the fraud code, which means that the consultant is “unlawfully acting in an improper manner”.
The number was up from 1.2 in the same period last year, and up from 790 people in the year before that.
“The rise in cases is not all bad news,” ACCC commissioner Rod Sims said in a statement.
“There are some significant positives.
Fraud is a significant drain on our public coffers, and there are good reasons to be concerned about the impact of this on the integrity and performance of our regulatory process.”
But there are some concerns about how our fraud detection and monitoring system has become so reliant on the use of software, which is not appropriate for our needs as a regulator.
“In addition to the numbers, the new figures show that in the previous two years more than 4,000 people have been investigated by the AFP for fraud.”
That’s a very significant increase,” Ms Sims said.”
This is about the most fraud we’ve ever seen.
“But she said that while it was “a huge drain on the public purse”, there was no evidence to suggest the fraud figures were an indicator of a greater problem with the AFP’s fraud enforcement system.”
They are looking for people who may have committed fraud, or may be trying to evade fraud, and that’s where we have to make sure we’re protecting the public,” she said.
The Commissioner said the AFP would “re-examine its practices and processes”.”
There’s a real need for a thorough and open process,” she told ABC Radio Melbourne’s Breakfast program.”
We’re looking at it and we’ll be re-examining our processes and procedures as we go forward.
“The ACCCC’s findings are based on the audited financial statements of more then 2,000 immigration consultants who work for businesses across the country.”
It’s the first time we’ve been able to get a snapshot of how many people are being investigated by law enforcement agencies,” Ms Sim said.
She said the figures were “particularly important” as they showed that fraud allegations in the immigration industry were increasing at a “robust” rate.”
While we’re seeing an increase in fraud cases, we have a real question mark over whether the AFP has made the right decisions and what we can do to protect the public from fraud,