The Australian High Commission in New Delhi has warned people about a new visa scam, allegedly perpetrated by an employment agency operating in South-West Delhi. The high commission has asked visa aspirants to exercise caution after it was approached by over 50 people, who claimed to have paid lakhs of rupees to the agency for obtaining a work visa for Australia, only to come to know later that they were duped in yet another visa scam.
Cautioning the visa applicants, the Australian High Commission said that they should conduct thorough checking whenever they come across a visa agency offering a job in Australia. It also asked people to refer directly to the information published on the official Home Affairs website, www.homeaffairs.gov.au, instead of becoming a victim to visa fraud.
“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,” a spokesperson from the Australian High Commission said in a statement.
The High Commission also said on its official website that the agency at the center of the fraud took money from the applicants for job placement and visa lodging, as well as medical examination fee. The medical center in South Delhi, allotted by the agency for these medical examinations, was not associated with Australia’s approved panel of physicians.
“Some of the recent victims have said that they paid up to Rs 50,000 just for a non-existent airfare and a medical check with an unauthorized clinic, in addition to all the other fees they have been charged,” the spokesperson added.
The statement added that the agency sometimes gave fake job offers using the names of well-known and genuine companies in Australia.
The agency even provided applicants a fake visa grant notice, which was linked 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,” the statement said.
The High Commission has advised visa fraud victims to report their experiences to law enforcement agencies and seek help.
“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,” it said.