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A new international agreement will boost Australia’s ability to detect and identify immigration fraud and cast a wider net when checking the backgrounds of unauthorised arrivals and other people held in immigration detention.

The Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Senator Chris Evans, said today that an agreement for biometric data-sharing between Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom was signed last night. Under the partnership, Australia will be able to securely and confidentially cross check fingerprints with Canadian and UK databases.

Currently, the Department of Immigration and Citizenship collects fingerprints from all people in immigration detention, including irregular arrivals and illegal foreign fishers. It is expected fingerprint collection will be progressively rolled out to other people in the immigration caseload in the future.

‘The Australian Government’s ability to detect immigration and identity fraud will be greatly improved as a result of new biometric data-sharing arrangements with partner agencies in Canada and the United Kingdom,’ Senator Evans said. ‘This data-sharing will help to establish the true identities of unknown people, and ensure that fraudulent cases are dealt with appropriately through the improved ability to detect inconsistent identity and immigration claims.

It will also help authorities to increase the chance of detecting people with criminal histories and other people of concern, aid in the timely removal of unlawful non-citizens where their identities and/or nationalities were previously unknown or uncertain, and improve detection of fraudulent immigration practices and trends.

The new biometric data-sharing plan was developed at the Five Country Conference, which is a forum on immigration and border security between Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States. The US is expected to join the data-sharing arrangement in due course.

The benefits of international biometric data sharing were highlighted recently when an individual claiming asylum in the UK was found to have previously been fingerprinted in the USA while travelling on an Australian passport.

The individual was subsequently confirmed as an Australian citizen wanted for sexual assault. The man was removed to Australia to face court, and is now serving a jail sentence.

Senator Evans said the new data-sharing arrangements would not affect privacy laws.

‘The protection of personal information is important to all the countries involved in these arrangements. All data shared by my department will adhere to the Privacy Act 1988,’ the minister said.

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property_auction_56892tBy Sarah Mills
ninemsn Money

Auctions can be fun, frenetic and financially dangerous. With several hundred thousand dollars or more on the line, the tension in the room can be palpable. The stakes are high for vendors and buyers, so you need to make sure you understand the process, because it is a battleground that takes no prisoners.

Real estate agents will take a property to auction for a number of reasons. Usually, it is because the market is booming and they feel confident of extracting a higher price. Sometimes, however, the auction may be forced as part of a deceased estate or liquidation.

Home buyers on the other hand may attend an auction because they have decided on a property and are prepared to compete to lay claim to it. Others are undecided and some are hoping that the auction may turn in their favour and they get a bargain.

How does an auction work?

An auction is usually held in an Auction Room hired for the occasion or on-site at the property itself. Before you bid, you need to register with the auctioneer, giving your name, address and telephone number. You will be required to show proof of identity such as a driver’s licence, passport or credit card. This is to ensure that once you have placed a bid, you are responsible for it and can’t skip the scene. You may be given a number to display that you hold up during bidding.

The auctioneer starts proceedings by explaining the contract, terms of the auction and a description of the property. Bids are then invited from the floor. Some people may ask a real-estate agent or other person to represent them if they can’t attend but they must notify the auctioneer in writing. Make sure that before you bid, you gain all necessary, termite, building, structural and engineering reports as well as crucial legal title information.

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