ATO puts overseas students in targets
VISA police will give the tax man the personal details of every foreign national on a student and 457 visa in a bid to crack down on fraud.
The Australian Taxation Office has requested the Immigration and Border Force Department to provide information about foreign nationals who left in 2013 and those who will be here until 2017.
The ATO is concerned criminals are offering cash for the identification of departing foreign students and 457 workers in a bid to submit false tax returns.
It comes as the Abbott Government continues to defend the Border Force after it was engulfed in a public relations disaster centred on stopping people in Melbourne to check their visas. The blitz, named Operation Fortitude, was to be done with Victoria Police and was cancelled after a last-minute call to protest was organised by outraged citizens through social media.
It was revealed yesterday Immigration Minister Peter Dutton was given an advance copy of the media release which explained the operation, but no one in his office read it.
The Courier-Mail can reveal the ATO is worried about 457 workers and foreign students being targeted by fraudsters.
It is believed criminals are brazenly asking for identification shopping list requests – such as tax file numbers – on some university notice boards.
An ATO spokesman could not reveal how much money may have been scammed.
“We are … concerned that some temporary visa holders/ students may be approached to sell their identity information and tax file number when departing Australia,” he said. The Tax Office had asked for details of visa holders and their sponsors.