No visa, no job, no refund: international students caught in 457 visa scam

Formal investigations are continuing after international students claimed Sydney businessman Eddie Kang cheated them as part of a systematic visa scam. But the Australian Government has been accused of not acting quickly enough. Rebecca Di Nuzzo reports.


Migration agents have expressed concern that the Australian Government is not doing enough to address reports of a Sydney businessman allegedly scamming multiple international students through visa fraud.

Last month a Lateline report uncovered complaints made by international students against CEO of Singapore Oil Eddie (or Eddy) Kang, who they say promised them work visas and sponsorship for residency if they paid up to $45,000 for work contracts.

But after handing over their money, the students were left with no job, no visa and no full refund. Furthermore, when they asked Kang for refunds, some students were reportedly faced with intimidation and death threats. Several of Kang’s victims have chosen to share their experiences on the website of Migration Alliance, a membership organisation for registered migration agents.

Karl Konrad, a migration agent and former Victoria Police officer, works closely with Migration Alliance. He uses its headquarters in Sydney as a base for the Eddy Kang Action Group, where victims may receive free legal advice from accredited immigration law specialist, Christopher Levingston.

There is little doubt that both the [Office of the Migration Agents Registration Authority] and the DIBP have some serious questions to answer regarding their lack of action against Mr Kang.” – Karl Konrad, Australian Immigration Law Services

On the group webpage he aimed scathing criticism at government departments for their sluggish response to complaints he made against Mr Kang earlier this year.

“There is little doubt that both the [Office of the Migration Agents Registration Authority] and the Department of Immigration and Border Protection have some serious questions to answer regarding their lack of action against Mr Kang,” he wrote.

Related story: Applying for PR? Beware migration scams

Around 35 victims attended the first Eddy Kang Action Group meeting in late October, but media spokesperson Liana Allan said membership has since grown as news of its existence spreads.

The group now has a Facebook page and victims from around the country are encouraged to join. Plans are also underway to stage a protest outside the Department of Immigration in Sydney, with a date yet to be set.

Ms Allan said the purpose of the group was to provide emotional support for victims as well as legal advice. She said moral support would be important for members to not lose heart in their pursuit of Kang.

“A lot of them like to be able to discuss and share their experiences together,” she said.

When questioned why government departments seem so reluctant to investigate Mr Kang, Ms Allan said she recently received information from a migration agent and former Migration Alliance board member that Kang had strong political connections.

“I have been given information by a migration agent saying Kang has connections with a Federal MP,” she said. “The Department of Immigration has known about this for over 12 months and they have done nothing”

Mr Konrad told Lateline he attempted to notify the DIPB of Kang’s activities six months ago. However he claims his complaints fell on deaf ears and little action was taken to investigate or respond to his tip-offs.

“Quite simply it was as if they did not want to know,” Mr Konrad said.

I just can’t understand why no one wanted to listen, so many people could have been saved from what is essentially financial ruin and their lives being destroyed.” – Eufrecinia Lazatin, migration agent

A former employee of Kang has also reported similar experiences in her dealings with regulatory bodies. Ms Eufrecinia (Cinia) Lazatina registered migration agent who worked for Kang in 2012, also attempted to dob-in Kang to DIBP and OMARA. She was alarmed by Mr Kang’s work practices, suspecting early on in her employment that he was operating a sham business. Ms Lazatin was also shocked by both departments’ lack of interest in pursuing the matter.

“I just can’t understand why no one wanted to listen, so many people could have been saved from what is essentially financial ruin and their lives being destroyed,” she said.

Since the Lateline report brought public attention to the issue, the DIBP have remained tight-lipped on the progress of their investigation.

In response to questions by Meld, an Immigration Department spokesperson said it was inappropriate to comment on an ongoing investigation and he expected more information to be revealed once investigations had ceased. He was unable to provide any estimate as to when a conclusion might be reached however, or what kind of compensation victims could expect.

The spokesperson recommended anyone concerned they had been targeted by visa fraud contact the Department of Immigration by submitting a Dob-in Service Online Report on the DIBP website.

Brendan Hillis, an accredited immigration law specialist at Access Immigration, said many professionals in the field of migration services were aware of the Lateline report on Kang. He suspects that many applications Kang filed had technical problems, or the applicant may have not met the visa’s strict criteria, which resulted in their rejection. He said the laws surrounding visa requirements and applications changed regularly, so it is important to engage the services of a professional who understood what they were doing.

“This is a fairly complicated area of law,” said Mr Hillis. “One of the responsibilities of a lawyer is to tell people if they fit the criteria”.

Mr Hillis also found the amount of money victims paid Mr Kang for a work contract “extraordinary”.

He said the desperation some students felt to live in Australia, as well as the increasingly difficult process of applying for visas, may have been key motivators for students to hand over the cash.

“It is more difficult than it used to be, and it is harder to get a visa in Australia,” he said.

Mr Hillis feels the bewildering process of applying for visas and residency may cause problems for Australia down the track. He said highly skilled professionals may be discouraged from immigrating to a country where visa applications are becoming increasingly complex and expensive.

“Highly skilled people were coming here, they were paying for their own education and applying for residency,” he said.

He also fears foreign investment in the country might be threatened as some international businesses based in Australia are considering relocating overseas where visa requirements are less strict. In such a situation he said Australia stands to lose more jobs as entire companies move offshore.

“They are bringing a lot of money into the country, they are creating jobs,” Mr Hillis said. “Australia has to ask itself, ‘what is it achieving?'”

There are 15 comments

  1. Raj Kumar

    This is a shame for immigration department and MARA no to response accordingly so that Kang can be stopped to cheat like this. Kang did same thing in Newzealand. I complained about Kang in immigration and in MARA in June 2013 but have got no appropriate response from both. Kang must be put in jail for long and there must be some process so that all money which he took from internatinal students can be recovered even if he would have sent money to other country. We have lots of expectations from Australian Immigration and waiting for justice to be delivered to us. Our future is in trouble and all of us are struggling with finance and mental problems due to the delay of getting justice.

  2. chandra

    This guy has done a massive scam, looted poor students and destroyed hundred of lives. He have frauded hundred of documents to immigration and its clients. There is complaints in dob in Immigration hotline, police station of frauding people, CTTT , local courts. Also some of the Cttt judges are doing the favour to MR Eddie Kang by taking of his name from respondent and adding singapore oil Pte Ltd, where victims are unable to get the money from international company.

    Its the shame for Australian Law and Justice system where fraud and scam victims are not getting the justice and the offender is still threatening its clients till the date now. What a shame, I wish i could chop hos hands and legs off

  3. voyager

    Sometimes, heart, stomach and blood pressure are adversely affected when a man takes any v3 diet pill without knowing the obvious effects. So before taking these v3 diet pills, one should aware with the advantages and disadvantages.

  4. victims

    this is really ridiculous,where people get cheated and threatened by eddy kang and there is plenty of proofs available but there is no government support on this matter even they are aware about this matter,several people complaind,many migration agent told to DIBP,to police,and lodge the case in court but as EDDY kang has got political support so its delaying the case many news paper published his news,interview took by ABC news channel,what is the sense here nothing is illigal find by the government till date are they still investigating the case or government is wating to eddy kang flee frm the country then they will act against him i think if justice delayed,justice declined,eddy kang did 2 million dollor scammed in nz and now in australia about 7 million dollar and cheated over 400 people but there is nothing done by the deaf government and gov also responsible as many people started complained a year ago could save many innocent international student so eddy kang deserve life imprisonment as he hurt peoples financially,mentally,wasted their time,many people got refused their visas,many got deported,some of even did not know their visas being cancelled due to trust on eddy kang and he living a luxurious life on people money but eddy kang would suffer sooner or later as this type of people take too much bad words from victims and die with cancer or road accident and they even taken people karma on their shoulder so i pray to god he should suffer soon ameen

  5. Karma

    Yes, Mr Eddie kang he should suffer a lot, because of the work he has done, he deserves, all the painful disease in the world. The way Australian authorities are behaving is very shameful. If this continues to behave like this, none of the student will come here, which is their second economic busters after mining.
    Australian government was informed about the eddie kang fraud scam against international students, but didnot listen and allowed eddie kang to suck the bood and flesh of hard working andpoor students. How hard is here for students in australia, nobody knows except student.

    I want to warn every people who want to come to Australia, donot come here, australian government is very discriminatory towards student and will try to suck you as much as he can by making more eddie kangs with tough immigration rules and english language test.

    I pray eddie kang, who have sucked the wounded people would get his part of his body rotten and will gradually be spread to other parts of the body. If he had an accident, hope he would have to live without his body parts. My curse is always with you and the immigration authority who let the eddie kang do his bussiness freely would never live in peace as the person is also equally responsible in the eddie kang scam. Hope the investigation will be finished before eddie kangs funeral., lets all pray allah ho akbar, amen, jai bhola…..

  6. julie Hickman

    I due to my ignorance married a Jordanian national
    who got into Australia via false information supplied to immigration and the
    the university of Queensland via a female he had met and developed a relationship with a student services employee. she got rid of him possibly for vilence but was to embarrassed to let anyone know .

    point this person is a violent man whom has raped and violently assaulted me . . then divorced and shacked up with a women 1/2 his age to pay legal and then win custody of children of the union , the assaults were not the only one perpetrated by him and not the only ones documented,

    he is the purported? student that puts the breaks on genuine students as he did not have the degree required no degree at all..
    just a cert to say he was able to be a drug rep.. not a pharmacist . .

    1. Harsh

      Hi sayed I am harsh I am cheated by one of AUS sponser very badly .so have done any complaint that time .I lost my money already at least some other students or his business running would be stop.can you guide me for that.

  7. victim

    Cant believe this guy still running his business in north sydney and cheating the students. i dont know why police and immigration is doing nothing about it.

  8. alex bell

    skyline has place many ads in offering jobs with sponsor of 457 visa. i contacted to daniel zu. he asked me AU$60.000 for the process. yes AU$60.000. i think is a scam, a fraud. his mail is

    you should ban him and all skyline ad

    thank you.

  9. Average Joe

    The Australia official visa system is a scam itself. Many people complain that having an unlimited 457 spouse visa, they cannot get even a casual job due to a “non-local experience”. It’s a real Catch 22. In fact, it is only draining applicants pockets with a dead end result and the government smacks their piggy lips…

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