News/AUSTRALIA: FED - YOUNG, POOR AUST WOMEN MOST LIKELY TO

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Subject: News/AUSTRALIA: FED - YOUNG, POOR AUST WOMEN MOST LIKELY TO
From: Melanie Orhant (morhant@igc.org)
Date: Tue Dec 14 1999 - 21:08:30 EST


12-14-99 AUSTRALIA: FED - YOUNG, POOR AUST WOMEN MOST LIKELY TO ENTER SHAM
WEDDINGS.
By Debra Way
CANBERRA, Dec 14, AAP - Young Australian women from poor backgrounds,
including prostitutes and drug addicts, were most likely to enter into a
sham marriage with men from overseas, an official report showed today.
An Immigration Department compliance report showed that sham marriages were
a major source of illegal immigration to Australia.
There were 985 alleged contrived marriages identified in 1998-99 and more
than half of these (521) occurred in NSW.
"These marriage arrangements allow the non-citizen to circumvent normal
immigration processes and checks designed to select migrants who are best
qualified to contribute to Australia's social and economic well-being," it
said.
Many people who came to Australia via a sham marriage then brought their
families here under family reunion programs.
The report said the department was active in investigating contrived
marriage rackets and convictions could bring a 10-year jail term.
Legislation enacted in 1996 introduced a probationary visa period of two
years for marriages and relationships which occurred overseas.
The same applies for marriages undertaken in Australia with people from
offshore.
"(The department's) investigations have found that in many cases, the
people who enter sham marriages are young Australian women from lower
socio-economic backgrounds, including prostitutes and drug addicts, who
marry overseas males," the report said.
"They are generally attracted by the quick money offered and are usually
recruited by friends and relatives who themselves have been through a
contrived marriage.
"Others are recruited through advertisements in ethnic and mainstream
newspapers."
(c) 1999 AAP Information Services Pty Ltd

AUSTRALIAN ASSOCIATED PRESS 14/12/1999

Melanie Orhant

morhant@igc.org
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