An immigration scam made headlines last November (11th/Nov/2015) when Abel Prasad was arrested on 23 charges. Mr Prasad allegedly promised visas to at least 20 people, and either provided fake documents or delivered nothing at all. He apparently charged several thousand dollars despite not delivering any valid services.
There is some confusion over the reaction to this situation. While there have been calls to tighten restrictions with migration agents it must be noted that cases such as this do not involve legitimate agents at all. Mr Prasad, who has a history of criminal activities, has never been a legitimate migration agent. Cases such as this involve criminals impersonating migration officials. The problem is distinguishing the legitimate migration channels from any scams.
Avoid a scam by looking for the following:
- Being asked to pay cash upfront, with no receipt
- Excessive fees
- Lack of any contract
- Lack of any business office
- Meetings conducted in public places
- All contact details vague – post office boxes and mobile numbers, no legitimate address
- Offers of employment with unrealistic wages or high positions of authority
- Emails from free web services
- Emails that claim the you have been selected for migration
- Any claim that they need to keep your passport or documents. Only ever provide copies of these documents.
- Avoid any website that imitates a legitimate government website. The legitimate website should end with: .gov.au. Not: gov.au.pn
- Ignore emails that imitate government protocol. Email addresses ending .gov.au.pn are a scam.
- Ignore phone calls that require a fee to change migration details, only to threatening deportation. The legitimate migration department does not make fines or charge fees over the phone.
- Lack of a Migration Agents Registration Number (MARN).
Under the migration act of 1958 it is against the law for anybody not already registered with the Office of the Migration agents Registration Authority to offer immigration assistance.
The legitimacy of an agent can be provided by contacting the Office of the Migration Agents Registration Authority. If the number does not correspond to the individual offering services you should refuse to deal with them.
Report any suspicious activities to:
Talk to migration agents Sydney for legitimate advice.