Current AffairsIndiaIndia

Australian High Commission warns public of visa scam

The Australian High Commission on Monday warned the public of a new visa scam allegedly perpetrated by an employment agency operating in South-West Delhi.

In recent weeks, more than 50 people have approached the High Commission after paying lakhs for a work visa, only to be informed that they have become a victim of yet another visa scam, a statement from the High Commission said here.

The Australian High Commission is concerned about the growing number of victims and advises any potential visa applicants to exercise caution when visa agencies offer jobs, it said.

“Australia does not have a work visa program of the sort being promoted by the scammers—our Temporary Skills Shortage work visa is run only with approved sponsors, and only for applicants with specific skills in demand in Australia,” explained a spokesperson from the Australian High Commission.

“Some of the recent victims have said they paid up to 50,000 INR just for a non-existent airfare and a medical check with an unauthorised clinic, in addition to all the other fees they have been charged,” it said.

In addition to being charged for job placement—sometimes with bogus job offers using the names of genuine, well-known companies in Australia—and “visa lodgement” fees, the victims have also had to pay to undergo a medical examination in a medical facility also located in South Delhi, that is not associated with Australia’s approved panel physicians.

The South West Delhi agency has also provided victims with a fake visa grant notice, which links to a non-genuine visa checking service on a fake website.

“We have seen clones of our website before but the newest versions link to a fake visa checking site that only contains the visa details concocted by the agent. This may look convincing to someone who is wanting proof the agent is not duping them – but actually, it is still all fake.”

Some of the victims of this fraud have advised that they are in the process of seeking assistance from local law enforcement agencies.

“We work with website hosts to take down fake websites but the scammers often start up again with a different site. We encourage victims of this and other scams to promptly report this illegal activity to local authorities,”
the release said.

All potential visa applicants should refer directly to information published on the official Home Affairs website: www.homeaffairs.gov.au. A list of approved physicians can be found at https://www.homeaffairs.gov.au/about/contact/offices-locations/india. The Australian High Commission website also has a page listing recent scams: http:ndia.highcommission.gov.au/ndli/Visas_and_Migration.html.

Savio Rodrigues

Savio Rodrigues Founder & Editor-in-Chief GoaChronicle.com

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