The Australian High Commission in Port Louis has become aware of several visa scams. Please be cautious of any person offering 'guaranteed' Australian visas.
These scammers contact you out of the blue by post, email, phone or face-to-face offering a visa in return for payments, personal details and identity documents. They may claim to know someone in the Australian High Commission, be a ‘registered agent' or ‘Australian visa application service’.
Scammers may try to trick you into believing they are genuine by posing as staff from an Australian Government department, or by using websites which look like official Government sites. Illegal operators often give incorrect advice, steal your money, encourage you to lie on your application and do not deliver the services promised.
• You get an offer out of the blue for a ‘guaranteed’ Australian visa.
• The offer comes via email, post, over the phone, on a website or even face-to-face.
• It claims to be a ‘once in a lifetime opportunity’, or your ‘only’ chance to travel or migrate to Australia.
• You are asked to pay the scammer upfront to ‘register’ your interest in getting a visa. The scammer asks you to pay them directly rather than paying the government department and claims that only they can pay the department’s fees.
• The scammer claims to have a special relationship with the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP).
• They tell you they need to keep your original documents.
• There is only one official Australian Government provider of visas - the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP). DIBP’s official website is www.border.gov.au.
• If you receive an email from the Australian High Commission in Pretoria the email address must end in "@border.gov.au’
• DIBP charges a one-off fee at the time you lodge your visa application. You can pay the fee directly to the department and do not require an agent to pay this fee on your behalf.
• No one can influence the outcome of a visa application or the visa decision making process. Only authorised officers from DIBP can issue you with a visa and only if you meet all the visa requirements.
• DIBP does not have any special relationships with outside agencies and does not give preferential treatment to anyone.
• Be suspicious if you are contacted by phone, post, email or approached in person about a visa you did not apply for. Walk away from the person, hang up the phone immediately or ignore the email/letter! The Government does not contact people out of the blue offering visas.
• If you wish to use an Australian migration agent, check that they are registered on the Office of the Migration Agents Registration Authority website (https://www.mara.gov.au/) or if they are operating outside Australia to check with the relevant Business Registration office that they are a legitimate business.
• Never give or send anyone your original identity documents. Government departments may wish to view your original documents in person or may ask for certified photocopies but should never ask to keep your original documents.
• Never provide your personal, credit card or banking details in an email or over the phone—scammers will use your details to commit identity fraud or steal your money.
• If you think you have provided your bank account details to a scammer, contact your bank or financial institution immediately.
People with information about migration scams or illegal operators should contact DIBP's Dob-In line. See: Dob-In line
DIBP's Protect Yourself from Migration Fraud information kit can be found on the DIBP website. See: Migration fraud and scams
DIBP also has a "Using a Migration Agent in Australia" flyer which has been translated into 14 different languages. See: Using a migration agent in Australia
Warning: Cruise ship employment scams
One common example of a visa scam is the cruise ship employment scam. The Australian Government is aware that Mauritians have been targeted by unsolicited e-mails fraudulently offering employment from Australian cruise ship companies.
Victims of this scam are defrauded of fees supposedly for visas or fictitious ‘foreign worker certificates’. It appears that the fraudulent e-mails originate from West Africa, not Australia.
The Australian High Commission is unable to verify employment offers from Australian companies. Job-seekers are strongly advised to verify all job offers using publicly available contact details for the relevant companies.
Should you believe that you are the victim of a scam, you should report it to your local police and may wish to report it via the website www.scamwatch.gov.au