dominos pizza
A worker carries a pizza for delivery as he exits a Domino's pizza store in Sydney, Australia, August 12, 2015. Reuters/David Gray/File Photo

Domino's Pizza has investigated the report from Fairfax Media about visa sponsorship scam. According to the report, the pizza company franchisees required overseas workers to pay for their sponsorship between $30,000 to $150,000. The rate depended on the job and the nationality of the applicant.

The pizza company launched an investigation on Sunday after it was informed by Fairfax Media. “Domino’s has not previously received any complaints of visa fraud but is investigating an allegation raised in today’s report,” the company said in a statement.

The report was strengthened through a phone recording of the conversation between the franchisee and a Chinese student on a visa. "I will say straight that we want to sell this sponsorship. But you need to pay some money. We might need you pay $100,000 plus ... $100-$150,000," the franchisee said in Mandarin.

The franchisee added that the applicant should pay other fees like lawyer fees on top of the quoted sponsorship fee. According to the report, the strategy was practised by franchisees to provide lucrative profit to prop up low-income stores.

The media company said that the franchisee's name is Bohai Shangguan a.k.a. Eric. He uses the website ozYoYo to find people who wanted a job and sponsorship in Australia. Eric denied that that he asked for money but he admitted that he offered sponsorship. "We just need someone to run the shop ... we don't do those things," Eric said.

Undercover Jon said that the illegal practice was not unusual for franchisees. Jon claimed working as an undercover for Fairfax Media, saying that it was all about money. "They know international students want a visa and many families in China will put together money to pay for the sponsorship for their children," Jon said.

Companies or franchisees caught doing the sponsorship fraud could face two years imprisonment and a fine up to $324,000. The Department of Immigration said that it is illegal to ask for, offer, provide or receive a benefit for visa sponsorship.

The media company's report also included an allegation that some workers of Domino's were underpaid. It added that overtime works have no payment and time sheets were incorrect.

However, Domino's denied it and said that the media coverage did not reflect the high ethical standards required of all franchisees and employees. The company said that it has found no evidence of a link between breaches of employment obligations and franchisee profitability. It said that it has removed four franchisees from its network for not paying the employees the right salary. The pizza company said that when it learned that the employee was underpaid, the company repaid it correctly.

Domino's has more than 600 stores in Australia employing 14,000 workers. As one of the biggest franchise networks in the country, it sells around one million pizzas every week.