MUMABI: A brother-sister duo from India have been accused of forgery and marrying each other in a bid to immigrate to Australia. Currently believed to be living in Australia, the pair came under scanner after their cousin filed a police complaint earlier this month.
Police in the Indian state of Punjab is investigating the case after the complaint was filed alleging the pair had forged a bank account, a passport and other identity documents in the woman’s name. The documents were then used for getting an Australian spouse visa.
According to details, the alleged forgery and the marriage registration purportedly took place in the year 2012 in Punjab.
“We have come to know so far that the brother was already a permanent resident of Australia and documents were forged to give his sister the identity of their cousin and they first got a marriage certificate from a gurdwara and it was registered in the sub-registrar’s office,” Inspector Jai Singh, who is investigating the case, was quoted as saying in SBS.
Singh also told that six members of their family including the brother-sister have been named in the immigration scam.
“The complainant is closely related to the accused family and used to live with them when they forged her identity documents. Our preliminary investigation has been able to establish most of the facts,” Singh added.
The brother-sister duo are said to be living in Australia along with their other family members, including their father, mother, brother and maternal grandmother. All accused are on the run.
“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,” Singh said.
While the Department of Home Affairs told The Australian newspaper that all identity documents of spouse visa applicants are thoroughly checked and verified with relevant authorities of the issuing country, where required. However, it was added that there is no control over genuine passports issued by the foreign government which may have been issued based on fraudulent documents.
Pointing out that although immigration-related identity fraud is not uncommon in his jurisdiction, Singh described the said case as “shocking”. “We all have heard of fake marriages taking place for going migrating overseas, even among close relatives, but this happening with a brother-sister was unheard of,” he said.
Last year in November, a 32-year-old Indian was charged over a fake-marriage visa scam in Sydney after which the Australian High Commission in India issued a warning to Indians against fake marriage scams. While, the Australian Border Force revealed that 164 spouse visa applications were refused after they were found to be linked to the fake marriage syndicate.
Moreover, concerns have also been raised over ‘IELTS brides’ – the term used for women who are able to pass the English language test to secure admission in a course in these countries. These women then enter into a contract marriage with a man who would pay them for a visa as their dependent spouse. Such cases are particularly reported from Punjab in order to migrate to developed English speaking countries such as Australia and Canada, reported SBS.