In what seems to be erupting into a major visa scam, Indians have been warned against an employment agency reportedly fleecing them with the promise of a work visa for Down Under.
In a statement issued on Monday, the Australian High Commission in Delhi 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. 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,” cautioned the mission spokesperson.
“Australia does not have a work visa programme 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. 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,” added the High Commission spokesperson.
According to sources, the modus operandi of the agency includes using bogus job offers in the name of well established Australian companies , asking for ‘visa lodgement’ fees and making victims undergo a medical examination in a facility located in South Delhi but not associated with Australia’s approved panel physicians. The agency also reportedly provided victims with a fake visa grant notice linking to a non-genuine visa checking service on a fake website.
“This may look convincing to someone who is wanting proof the agent is not duping them – but actually, it is still all fake,” said the spokesperson. Victims have been advised to approach the local police with complaints and all potential visa applicants instructed to refer directly to information available on the Australian Home Ministry website.
Australia earlier this year replaced its popular 457 visa programme the Temporary Skills Shortage visa that requires sharper knowledge of English and skills. Indians accounted for nearly 25 per cent of the 90,000 457 visa holders. The TSS-sponsored visa allows skilled workers in Australia to work for an approved business for a period of two to four years.