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The great Australian tourist visa scam

By Murray Hunter - posted Monday, 5 August 2019


VFS has had issues with maintaining the integrity of client data in relation to visa applications in the past.

The company’s online UK visa application system was found to be flawed back in 2007 where more than 50,000 applicants’ identities and personal information from India, Nigeria, and Russia were compromised.

Even though an Indian visa applicant reported this problem in 2005, no action was taken by either VFS of UK Visas.

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The VFS website was only shut down after the UK media became aware of this lapse of security.

VFS and UKVisas were found to be in breach of the Data Protection Act 1998, where the British Foreign Office was required to review its relationship with VFS Global.

VFS was just recently exposed for fraudulently selling tickets that entitle passengers to use premium immigration lanesat Bangkok’s two international airports earlier this year.

The London based VFS Global is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Kuoni Group, a public-listed company headquartered in ZurichSwitzerland. What makes VFS interesting is that the chairman of the parent company, Henning Boysen was closely involved with Booz, Allan & Hamilton in the area of predictive intelligence, the same company that Edward Snowden worked for.

Like Booz, Allan & Hamilton, WFSVFSGlobal almost solely acts as a contractor for Government in data collection services. Two other directors were previously involved with Boston Consulting Group which has long been suspected of having close links with the US intelligence community.

The biggest danger however is that information supplied for the sole purpose of requesting a visa, could be disseminated and used beyond the purpose it was provided. VFS Global’s track record, and the connections of the parent company’s directors with organizations like with Booz, Allan & Hamilton, give great reason for concern.

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Crown Casino and Corruption in Home Affairs

Recent revelations have highlighted that a special deal was done between Home Affairs and Crown Casino, where numerous allegations of illegal practices have been made against the organization, to facilitate fast track short term visitor visas for high rolling Chinese gamblers. It was also reported as part of the package deal included access to sex workers, who may have been trafficked into the country and working against their will. Questions are now being asked as to whether this deal has compromised border security where money launderers, drug and people traffickers, Chinese triad bosses, Chinese intelligence agents, and other criminals have been allowed into the country.

Home Affairs and Crown Casino are now under investigation by the little known independent agency Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity, as this organization is not part of the Department of Home Affairs.

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About the Author

Murray Hunter is an associate professor at the University Malaysia Perlis.

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