Australia and US issue warning over visa admin scams

Australia and US issue warning over visa admin scams

Australia and US issue warning over visa admin scams

The American and Australian immigration authorities are warning expats looking for professional help and advice on visa requirements and applications to beware of crooks posing as immigration officials.

Australia’s Department of Immigration and Citizenship is citing reports that phone scammers are targeting the country’s international communities, identifying students and 457 visa holders and offering fixes for visa irregularities for a so-called penalty payment to an offshore bank. A DIAC spokesperson confirmed that the conmen are claiming visas are out of date and demanding an immediate payment backed by threats of prison and deportation.

Anyone receiving such a call, the spokesperson added, should tell the caller they are aware of the scam and will be reported to the police. The American scams involve unauthorised immigration service practitioners out to rip off those needing help with US immigration procedures, and those targeted should remember that giving unauthorised immigration advice for a fee is against US law.

The United States Citizenship and immigration Service (USCIS) advises that taking unauthorised advice risks delaying your application, is unnecessarily expensive and may result in deportation. Its newly-launched Unauthorised Practice of Immigration Law initiative aims to combat scams by giving local community organisations, legal service specialists and applicants themselves the tools to protect themselves and their clients from illegal cons.

Advice being offered includes a list of well-known scams, a list of fully legal immigration service companies and help with filing applications. A USCIS spokesperson explained that if all potential immigrants take advantage of the advice offered, scammers would be forced out of business.

Related Stories:

Latest News: