The West

Pledge on visa rort claims

Immigration Minister Scott Morrison has pledged to address allegations of visa rorts and migration crime, including claims a terror suspect's family helped orchestrate a people-smuggling racket.

Mr Morrison said the reports of widespread fraud identified by the Immigration Department occurred under the former Labor government's watch.

Fairfax Media revealed yesterday serious allegations in a trove of leaked departmental documents.

These included claims investigations had found as many as nine out of 10 skilled visa applications may be fraudulent, more than 90 per cent of applications from Afghans involved fraud and dozens of Somalis had entered Australia on a Melbourne-based passport scam linked to a terror suspect believed to have ties to an al-Qaida offshoot.

The documents - which cover 2008 to 2013 - also warned that cuts to the department's investigation squad posed a risk to national security.

Mr Morrison said the Government took its responsibilities seriously to ensure integrity in the immigration system. He had urgently sought a report from his department on the issues raised but it was important not to leap to conclusions, such as 90 per cent of the immigration program being invalid.

"The Abbott Government will address weaknesses in the system wherever it is required with the same resolve we have shown in stopping the boats," he said.

"While the reports regarding the alleged events under the previous government are serious, it would be inappropriate to leap ahead to any conclusions.

"At this point, these reports are allegations."

The West Australian

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