Friday, 20th of November 2015

 

Issue #2 November

 

TOP STORY

Alleged Visa scam left migrants left penniless
 

ISSUES OF THIS MONTH

Migrants left penniless and suicidal over alleged visa scam

 

Think you’re not an employer?

 

3-year visa for Indonesians

 

New health requirements mean processing delays

 

New global property report says Brits are buying more in Australia

 

Federal Court Decision Teaches: Get Your Case Together Early!

 
 

Migrants left penniless and suicidal over alleged visa scam

A man who allegedly duped dozens of migrants into paying for non-existent working visas has been arrested by the Australian Federal Police.

Abel Prasad of SVC Legal Australia allegedly ripped off unsuspecting migrants, mostly international students, by promising jobs with one of his companies and then supplying bogus visas.

Most of Prasad's companies exist only in name and there are no jobs.

Prasad has been extradited to South Australia where he will face 23 charges relating to GST fraud.

Prasad, who was living in Brisbane, denied any wrongdoing.

According to the head of the Migrants Alliance, the peak body for migration agents, Mr Prasad has allegedly scammed at least 20 people.

Indian student Jaspal Marok alleged that he handed Prasad his life-savings of $17,000 on the promise of a visa and job with a salary of $65,000 at one of Prasad’s companies, Snappy Digital only to subsequently be handed a forged visa from Prasad's business.

Chinese student Ashley Chen, alleged that he paid Prasad $41,000 for a job and the promise of a visa within ’24 hours’. When no visa arrived, Mr Chen alleged that his enquiries on the matter were met by threats from Prasad.

 
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Think you’re not an employer? Think again!

think-if-you-are-an-employer

Most of us have had a friend help us out around the house or yard whether it is to assist us with fencing, landscaping or assistance with house renovations or cleaning. If you find yourself agreeing to a friend helping you, beware that you may actually be found to be an employer. It sounds crazy but this is what happened to a couple that allowed a friend to help them out when they were renovating their house.

The ‘friend’ assisted a couple on a few occasions within a period of one month and was reimbursed the cost of fuel and for the materials that he brought to the house. There was never a discussion of wages, hours of work and it was clear from the version of events put forward that it was simply an offer of help from one friend to another.

A few months later, the couple found themselves liable for a workers’ compensation claim from their ‘friend’ in a decision by WorkCover Queensland (WorkCover). WorkCover issued a frankly erroneous statement of decision which found their friend to be a ‘worker’ and that they were his employer. It was clear WorkCover heavily relied on the worker’s statement of events without taking due consideration of the couple’s alternate version.

As the couple were not covered by a responding insurance policy or a WorkCover policy, WorkCover advised that they were liable for a workers’ compensation claim for an amount over $15,000 with the possibility of further medical costs being incurred, including possible surgery for which they would be liable. If the claim was upheld by WorkCover the couple would be in a dire financial situation.

Under the Workers’ Compensation and Rehabilitation Act 2003 (Qld) (Workers’ Compensation Act) a person is deemed to be a ‘worker’ that person:

  1. “Works under a contract; and
  2. In relation to the work, is an employee for the purpose of assessment for PAYG withholding under the Taxation Administration Act 1953 (Cwlth), schedule 1, part 2-5.”

There was no evidence that the ‘friend’ was working under a contract other than the couple advising that ‘he did a bit of work around the house’. The ‘friend’ advised that he was in receipt of an hourly wage although there was no evidence provided to support this claim.

After engaging our firm the couple then appealed the WorkCover decision to the Regulator who ultimately set aside the decision and found that the ‘friend’ was not a worker. The decision of the Regulator was that there was no evidence of a contract being in place nor was there any evidence of payments being made to the ‘friend’. On this basis, a finding was made: the friend was not a worker; the couple were not an employer and they are no longer liable for what could have been astronomical surgical bills on top of a $15,000 plus claim.

Many people would (reasonably) believe that there is no way they could be found liable as an employer when simply agreeing to let a friend help out around the house, but as this case demonstrates it can happen.

To prevent this from happening to you we recommend the following tips:

  • If a friend is performing services at your home it is best to have the details in writing, via text message will suffice provided you keep a copy of the message;
  • Be clear that it is not a working relationship and that they are in no way obliged to offer you any help;
  • Any payment for reimbursement of expenses should be done via banking so these amounts can be traced and that prior to payment a receipt is produced before reimbursement occurs;
  • Never say to any insurer that the friend worked for you, this implies that you are an employer and you may be found liable by WorkCover and you may be found to engaging in fraud.

In the event that you may find yourself in such a situation or you are concerned that a friend may be planning to submit a WorkCover claim after recently helping you out we recommend obtaining legal advice urgently.

If you are found to be an employer and liable for a WorkCover claim NB Lawyers offer a free 20 minute legal consultation to all employers.

For further information please contact Jonathan Mamaril, Principal on 07 3876 5111 or email jonathanm@nb-lawyers.com.au.

Written By
Jonathan Mamaril, Principal, and Michelle Chadburn, Lawyer, NB Lawyers
07 3876 5111
LAWYERSFOREMPLOYERS.COM.AU

 

3-year visa for Indonesians

Three year Australian visa for Indonesia

Indonesian nationals will have access to a three-year, multiple-entry visa to Australia from next year, signalling the federal government’s recognition of our neighbour as an increasingly important source country for tourism and business.

The change which extends the current one-year visitor visa will also allow applicants to obtain the visa more quickly and easily by 2017 via the online portal, according to a media release from the office of the immigration minister.

Immigration minister, Peter Dutton, along with Trade Minister Andrew Robb and Tourism Minister Richard Colbeck announced these initiatives while attending the Indonesia-Australia Business Week in Jakarta.

The media release stated that the Government is committed to expanding client access to online lodgement for visitor visas (Business and Tourist Streams) globally and supporting Australia’s position as an attractive business and tourism destination.

There were 150,200 visitors from Indonesia to Australia in 2014, up six per cent compared with 2013. These visitors generated $600 million for Australia’s economy.

Currently, the department has an agreement with VFS Global to provide Australian visa lodgement services in Indonesia through an Australian Visa Application Centre.

 

New health requirements mean processing delays

New health requirements

An estimated 180,000 visa applicants currently doing an x-ray only to meet the health criteria will soon be required to complete a medical examination as well, under the department of immigration’s new health standards. In addition, 30,000 children under 11 years, will be required to be screened for TB.

The new health requirements announced by the DIBP last Friday, mainly affects temporary visa applicants and will come into effect on 20 November 2015. It is expected to slow down visa processing times - particularly those of sc457 applications from selected countries who will be required to undergo more thorough health checks.

DIBP announced that a new health matrix will be introduced whereby there will only be two risk levels with health examinations: required or not.

Under the new system, visa applicants from over 100 countries considered ‘safe’ will generally not be required to undergo health checks for stays in Australia of six months or less.

Countries on the ‘safe list’: No health examinations are generally required for the countries below. Countries not listed will generally require health examinations as per the matrix.

Albania; American Samoa; Andorra; Antigua and Barbuda; Argentina; Aruba; Australia; Austria
Bahrain; Barbados; Belgium; Belize; Bermuda; Bonaire; Bouvet Island; Bulgaria
Canada; Cayman Islands; Chile; Christmas Island; Cocos (Keeling) Islands; Cook Islands; Costa Rica; Croatia; Cuba; Curacao; Cyprus; Czech Republic
Denmark; Dominica;Egypt; Estonia; Falkland Islands; Faroe Islands; Finland; France; French Polynesia; FYR Macedonia (Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia);
Germany; Gibraltar; Greece; Grenada; Guadeloupe;Heard and McDonald Islands; Hungary;
Iceland; Iran; Ireland; Israel; Italy;Jamaica; Japan; Jordan;Kosovo; Kuwait; Lebanon; Lichtenstein; Luxembourg;
Malta; Mauritius; Mexico; Monaco; Montenegro; Montserrat;Netherlands; Netherlands Antilles; New Caledonia; New Zealand; Niue; Norfolk Island; Norway;
Oman; Palestinian Authority; Pitcairn Island; Poland; Portugal; Puerto Rico; Reunion Island;
Saint Eustatius & Saba; Saint Helena (Ascension and Tristan da Cunha); Saint Kitts and Nevis; Saint Lucia; Saint Martin (Dutch); Samoa; San Marino; Saudi Arabia; Serbia; Seychelles; Slovakia; Slovenia; South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands; Spain; Svalbard & Jan Mayen; Sweden; Switzerland; ;
Tokelau; Tonga; Trinidad and Tobago; Tunisia; Turkey; Turks and Caicos Islands; United Arab Emirates;
United Kingdom (British citizen); United States of America; Uruguay; Vatican City; Virgin Islands (British); Virgin Islands (US); Wallis and Fortuna Islands.
 
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New global property report says Brits are buying more in Australia

British buying more property in Australia

Australia is very popular with British people but now it seems the love affair is more than just the lifestyle and weather as more UK investors are buying property in the country.

Record low interest rates, the comparatively weak Australian dollar and escalating prices in the UK are behind the rise of British buyers down under, according to new research from IP Global.

Melbourne and Brisbane are experiencing the highest demand from both UK and other overseas buyers. While there is still interest in Sydney, rocketing prices have led to tighter investor lending criteria and fewer overseas buyers as a result.

Overall, British nationals are now one of the largest overseas buying groups in the Australian market, although Indian and Chinese investors are buying higher prices properties. With volatile equity markets at home, Chinese buyers are increasingly putting their money into stable markets like Australia, the UK and the United State.

One of the most popular cities for overseas investors is Melbourne, consistently voted one of the world’s most liveable cities, where buyers are set to see returns of up to 8% next year.

Brisbane is also rapidly boosting its international reputation, according to the report which points out that house prices have risen 5% per annum over the last three years, led by regeneration in areas such as Cannon Hill and Newstead.

‘British investors are appreciating the value of the Australian property market more now than ever before. It offers a transparent and liquid market that is continuing to generate strong yields and capital growth,’ said Jonathan Gordon, director at IP Global.

 
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Federal Court Decision Teaches: Get Your Case Together Early!

Federal Court decision lesson

They say “timing in life is everything”.

This time-worn saying certainly rings true in relation to migration law: it is so so important to sort out problems with the evidence at an early stage!

A recent case that came before the Federal Court, Faruque v Minister for Immigration and Border Protection (2015) FCA (9 November 2015) illustrates just how perilous it can be “not to get to the bottom of an issue” at the earliest possible time and to resolve any questions that the Department may ask concerning the accuracy or authenticity of documents that are submitted in support of a visa application.

There are two clear lessons to be drawn from this case:

  1. Where it is necessary to submit documents from a third party to satisfy a criterion for the grant of a visa, every effort should be made to verify the authenticity and accuracy of the documents (such as bank statements) before they are submitted to the Department. It would be well to confirm with an applicant whether they are satisfied that a bank statement or other record does in fact accurately and truly reflect their financial holdings with the institution. This type of “due diligence” may help to prevent an applicant from becoming ensnared in PIC 4020 issues in the first place.
  2. If the Department raises an issue concerning the accuracy or authenticity of documents or information, and an explanation is available that will resolve the Department’s questions, then make sure that the clarifying material is submitted to the Department promptly. Waiting until after the Department has refused an application, or until after the Tribunal has held a hearing and issued a decision may very well be “too late in the process”. As happened in Faruque, the Federal courts are very unlikely to overturn the Tribunal in that situation.
 
 

We hope that you have found the information in this issue of our newsletter to be enriching and useful. Stay tuned for our next publication and if you would like to talk to us directly, please do not hesitate to email service@noborders-group.com. In addition, if you would like your contact details updated or removed from this distribution list or you know someone who would like to be added, please email us on the same address.

"The only limits to being the person you truly want to be are your own self-limiting beliefs and thoughts. In every moment, you have the power to choose your life"

 
 

No Borders Group

Email: service@noborders-group.com
Phone: (+61) 07 3876 4000

 
 

NO BORDERS Universal Migration
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