A Senate hearing has been told that a Home Affairs investigation into former Wagga MP Daryl Maguire's cash-for-visas scheme has resulted in a migration agent being deregistered.
On Friday, NSW Labor Senator Kristina Keneally asked Home Affairs and Border Force officials about the status of investigations into claims made about Mr Maguire's activities during an anti-corruption hearing last year.
Australian Border Force Commissioner Michael Outram told the budget estimates hearing that nobody had been criminally charged as part of any investigation relating to Mr Maguire.
"There has been an investigation undertaken and a brief of evidence has been referred to the Director of Public Prosecutions, and it is still with them," Commissioner Outram said.
Mr Maguire admitted to NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption that he was part of a "scam" whereby Riverina businesses were paid cash to employ Chinese nationals on regional work visas who rarely, if ever, turned up to work.
"Has the Office of the Migration Agents Registration Authority (OMARA) launched any action into migration agents involved in the cash for visas Maguire matter?" Senator Keneally asked a budget estimates hearing on Friday.
Home Affairs assistant secretary for Immigration Integrity, Assurance and Policy, Tara Cavanagh, told the hearing that "OMARA has identified one agent of interest in regard to that matter".
"Action has been taken to protect consumers as a result of their investigation ... in respect of one application for registration as a migration agent, the OMARA has refused that application," she said.
Senator Keneally asked who the affected migration agent was and Ms Cavanagh said she would have to take the question on notice.
Home Affairs Secretary Michael Pezzullo said he would also need to take advice on issues of privacy, natural justice and public interest immunity before naming the affected person at the hearing.
Ms Cavanagh said she was not aware OMARA had made any referrals to police or ICAC.
"If there was information suggesting criminal behavior, that information would be referred to the Australian Border Force, which would work with the Australian Federal Police or other law enforcement agencies to further investigate that matter," Ms Cavanagh said.
Ms Cavanagh said Monica Hao, who was named by witnesses at ICAC as the Sydney-based migration agent who signed the visa applications for Mr Maguire's scheme, was no longer registered as a migration agent.
Senator Keneally had asked Border Force officials earlier in the hearing about the circumstances in which Ms Hao was able to leave Australia in August after receiving a summons to appear before ICAC.
"I must say, it does seem odd to me that, given that Australian Border Force and Home Affairs have actions, have investigations ongoing into the Maguire cash-for-visa scheme, and given that Ms Hao appears to be the migration agent that had dealings with Mr Maguire, and there is suspicion she may be a key player in that scheme, it seems odd to me that she was allowed to travel overseas," Senator Keneally said.
Mr Pezzullo responded that "you have got to have the requisite legal threshold, a warrant to arrest issued or court-appointed conditions".
Commissioner Outram confirmed to Senator Keneally that ICAC did have the ability to alert customs officers to stop people at the border and ICAC did not send that alert for Ms Hao.
"Did you ever tell the ICAC that you were interested in Ms Hao?" Senator Keneally asked.
"Personally, no. I didn't," Commissioner Outram responded before telling the hearing he was not aware if Ms Hao had returned to Australia.
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