8 Oct 2010

Visa scams investigated in Australia

2:02 pm on 8 October 2010

The Australian immigration department is investigating visa scams within the Fijian community there.

The ABC reports the investigation is linked to the death of a Fiji national at the Villawood Detention Centre.

Josefa Rauluni, 36, committed suicide at Villawood Detention Centre last month just before he was to due to be deported to Fiji.

The ABC Lateline programme has uncovered evidence indicating he and his family were victims of a migration scam.

The family claims that prior to his death, they paid $A2000 to a man who promised he could get Mr Rauluni out of Villawood.

His brother, Tevita Rauluni, says the man claimed to be a religious pastor within the Fijian community.

"He rang me and he said, I put the money in, he'll help them get out of Villawood," he said.

The Immigration Department says a number of similar cases are being investigated.

Refugee advocates say increasing numbers of Fijians are seeking asylum in Australia to escape Fiji's military government.