A SYDNEY migration agent has been banned for allegedly taking a client to Oxford Street and Kings Cross to learn how to be gay so he could apply for a protection visa.

The Migration Agents Registration Authority (MARA) found lawyer and agent Issam Sam Issa encouraged and assisted clients to fabricate claims for protection visas to improve their chances of staying in Australia.

Mr Issa was found to have told clients to be homosexual or change their religion so they were a better prospect of being granted a visa.

“In his appearance before the Court, Mr E alleged that the agent advised and assisted him to apply for a Protection visa based on fabricated claims of being homosexual,’’ the tribunal judgment reads.

“To support the claims for his visa application, Mr E claimed that the Agent took him to Oxford Street, Kings Cross.’’

Homosexuals in some countries — particularly in the Middle East — face serious persecution and seek protection.

Mr Issa was banned for five years after MARA found he produced “misleading and inaccurate statements to enhance the prospects of success of the visa applications.”

The action continues the federal government’s strong approach to border protection.

Assistant immigration minister Michaelia Cash said the decision was a warning for the 5000 registered migration agents working in Australia and overseas.

“This former agent lodged applications with little or no prospect of success and created statements purporting to have originated from his clients,’’ Senator Cash said.

“His conduct fell well short of standards set out under the code of conduct for registered migration agents and he posed a serious risk to consumers.

“Fraudulent visa applications attempt to undermine the integrity of Australia’s immigration system — fraudsters should understand that under this government they will be pursued and they will be brought to justice.’’

The Daily Telegraph phoned Mr Issa’s office, but he did not return calls. Mr Issa told hearings that the “only credible, similar fact pattern” was Mr E’s “habitual lying’’.

He claimed he had no knowledge the statements were wrong and has appealed the decision.

MARA chief executive Steve Ingram said Mr Issa had fabricated groundless applications. “This included complaints from clients that he had advised them to portray themselves as having a different religion to the one they had and in one case there was a complaint against him that he had encouraged a client to pretend he was homosexual,” he said.

Sources : www.dailytelegraph.com.au