To settle in Australia, brother-sister from Punjab marry each other
Indians and their obsession with settling abroad thinking they will lead a luxurious lifestyle there, have led many into using illegal immigration methods. However, this time a 'couple' has taken it a bit too far. This brother-sister duo from Punjab has been accused of forging a bank account and a passport. Worse, they have married each other in order to obtain an Australian visa.
According to Jai Singh, the officer-in-charge, Ballianwalah Police Station in Bathinda District, the brother was already a permanent resident of Australia. To enable the sister's safe passage to Australia, the siblings forged the documents taking the identity of their cousin, who already had an Australian visa. They then managed a marriage certificate from a gurudwara and subsequently got it registered at the sub-registrar's office.
The forgery and marriage registration took place in 2012 and the matter came to light after the cousin, whose identity the duo stole, complained to the police earlier this month. "The complainant is closely related to the accused family and used to live with them when they forged her identity documents," Inspector Singh said, informing that the brother-sister duo is currently living in Australia.
The sibling's family members, including their father, mother, brother, and maternal grandmother have been named as accused in the complaint. However, police are not able to locate any of the family members. "We are carrying out raids to find them so that we can question them and complete our investigation. But so far, their whereabouts are unknown," the inspector said.
According to the Department of Home Affairs in Australia, the identity documents of spouse visa applicants are thoroughly checked and verified with relevant authorities of the issuing country, where required. "But, unfortunately, the Home Affairs department has no control over genuine passports issued by the foreign government which may have been issued based on fraudulent documents," the department told The Australian newspaper.
Although immigration-related identity fraud is common in Singh's jurisdiction, he was "shocked" by the current case. "We all have heard of fake marriages taking place for migrating overseas, even among close relatives, but this happening with a brother-sister was unheard of," he said.
Singh is right. In November 2018, a 32-year-old Indian national was booked over fake-marriage visa scam in Sydney. Following this, the Australian High Commission in India issued a warning to Indians who wished to migrate to Australia against fake marriage scams. According to the Australian Border Force, 164 spouse visa applications were refused after links to the fake marriage syndicate were found with them.
IELTS brides is another concerning issue. IELTS brides are women who'd pass the English language test to secure admission in developed countries like Australia and Canada and then enter into a contract marriage with a man who'd pay them for a visa as their dependent spouse. However, this practice would lead to dowry demands and domestic violence, a Senate Committee was told recently.