Australian official's jail term doubled over illegal visas for Vietnamese

By VnExpress   October 25, 2016 | 03:08 pm GMT+7
He took more than $430,000 in bribes to approve visas for 59 people from the Philippines and Vietnam.

Australia has increased the jail term of an immigration officer who took more than $430,000 in bribes to give visas to dozens of Filipinos and Vietnamese over an eight-month period.

Alex Escala Allan, 53, was found guilty of approving general-skilled migration visas to 59 people who did not satisfy the requirements to enter Australia, the Australian Associated Press reported.

The report said Allan gave the first 17 visas to family and friends in the Philippines.

Minh Huy Lam, a Vietnamese acquaintance, bribed him to do the same thing for 42 people from Vietnam, threatening to expose his crime if he refused to do so. Most of the Vietnamese were farmers who did not speak English but were granted visas usually given to skilled workers like accountants.

An investigation found the crime went on for eight months until March 2014 when an immigration officer at Brisbane Airport noticed the language skills and occupations of two Vietnamese workers did not match their visa requirements.

Allan was sentenced to eight months in jail last year, but the Commonweath Director of Public Prosecutions argued that the punishment was inadequate and successfully appealed to increase the penalty to 15 months.

Of the money he received, more than $108,000 is yet to be recovered.

Allan’s case has been described as the largest corruption scandal ever to hit the Australian Immigration Department, prompting a major overhaul of the visa approval process.

In August last year, former U.S. diplomat Michael T. Sestak was sentenced to 64 months in prison for accepting more than $3 million in bribes to process fraudulent visas in Vietnam.

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