Australian Federal Police (AFP) and Border Force have conducted a series of major raids across Melbourne after a nine-month investigation into several companies that supply Australia Post with post and parcel delivery drivers.
Three men who run labour hire firms used by Australia Post are in custody.
The AFP will allege the men are also running two training colleges which are used to fraudulently source student visas for Indian students.
The colleges charge international students fees of up to $10,000, but allegedly do not provide proper training.
Bobby Singh, who owns and manages the St Stephen Institute of Technology in Melbourne’s north-western suburbs, was arrested at his luxury home in Balwyn. Police also seized a red Ferrari from the home.
Rakesh Kumar, who is also a director of St Stephen, and Mukesh Sharma, who owns and manages the Symbiosis Institute of Technical Education in Footscray, were arrested in separate raids.
Mr Singh and Mr Sharma also own and manage companies which supply post and parcel delivery drivers to Australia Post.
The AFP and Border Force this morning also conducted a number of raids at Australia Post facilities in Melbourne, believed to be where the companies’ workers are based.
Institutions had ‘students’ working full-time for Australia Post
The ABC’s 7.30 program has established that both companies have provided a number of international students with offers of enrolment, which enabled them to apply for student visa extensions.
Joan Doyle, Victorian secretary of the posties’ union the Communications Electrical Plumbing Union (CEPU), said she believed he had about 100 workers, a number of whom were international students from India, working full-time in contravention of their student visa conditions, which restrict work to 20 hours a week.
On their websites, St Stephen Institute of Education and Symbiosis Institute of Technical Education offer a range of business, IT and management courses. Prices for courses range from $3,500 to $10,000.
Neither website provides a class timetable, or term dates.
As registered training organisations, both the St Stephen and Symbiosis Institutes have been entitled to receive subsidies from the Victorian Government for domestic students enrolled in the colleges.
As one of Australia Post’s so-called “super contractors”, Mr Singh had at least 16 post and parcel delivery contracts in Melbourne, delivering to nearly 20,000 customers.
The ABC has seen an Australia Post internal spreadsheet which shows that for just four of the 16 contracts, one of Mr Singh’s companies, Oz Trade and Services, received about $60,000 a month from Australia Post.
Mr Singh has previously been taken to the Fair Work Commission by posties’ union, the CEPU, for not paying superannuation to his workers. There was no resolution to the claim.
Joan Doyle said the arrests raise questions about how Australia Post is monitoring its contractors and how government money is being spent.
“We reported him to Australia Post in 2012 for underpaying his workers but nothing happened. In fact, what seems to happen was he was being preferenced above other contractors,” she said.
Australia Post announced soon after the men were taken into custody that it had cancelled all of Mr Singh’s contracts.