Melbourne: Authorities have cracked down on an alleged immigration racket in Queensland under which sham marriages were organised between Indian men and Australian women to obtain visas.
Authorities have estimated that upto 50 visa applications could have been used for such weddings, a report in `Sunshine Coast Daily` reported.
A probe into the allegations against a Queensland couple for allegedly running the scam led to search operations by Australian Federal Police and the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) at a few properties.
Nine of the properties were seized and some bank accounts linked to the scam were also said to be frozen, the report said.
It said that police and authorities believed that a property was allegedly used to arrange and perform some of the bogus ceremonies.
A DIAC spokesman said the scheme would arrange the fake marriages between Indian men and Australian women, to get the Indian men into the country under spouse visa applications.
"DIAC treats allegations of immigration fraud seriously, and activities that undermine the integrity of the visa regime will not be tolerated by Australian authorities," the DIAC spokesman said.
"The operation was part of an ongoing investigation into allegations that a Queensland man and his wife, among others, allegedly operated a sophisticated scheme to arrange fraudulent weddings between Indian men and Australian women," he said.
"The Australian women were allegedly paid money by the organisers of the scheme and the Indian men lodged visa applications to stay in Australia using the fraudulent marriages as the basis of their claims," he added.