The Australian High Commission in Pretoria has become aware of several visa scams. Please be cautious of any person or websites offering 'guaranteed' Australian visas.
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 or reputable news sites. Illegal operators often give incorrect advice, steal your money, encourage you to lie on your application and do not deliver the services promised.
Migration Agent Scams
There are Australian registered migration agents working all around the world in countries such as India, the United Kingdom, China and New Zealand, just to name a few. These agents are subject to the same Code of Conduct, professional development and regulations as registered migration agents based in Australia. More information about Australia’s efforts to ensure the integrity of the migration advice profession is available at: www.mara.gov.au
- Offers for a ‘guaranteed’ Australian visa.
- Unsolicited offers via email, post, over the phone, on a website or even face-to-face.
- Claims of ‘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 Home Affairs (Home Affairs).
- They tell you they need to keep your original documents.
- There is only one official Australian Government provider of visas - the Department of Home Affairs. Home Affairs' official website is: http://www.homeaffairs.gov.au/Trav
- If you receive an email from the Australian High Commission in Pretoria the email address must end in "@dfat.gov.au".
- Home Affairs 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 Home Affairs can issue you with a visa and only if you meet all the visa requirements.
- Apart from the Department's official service delivery partner in the Africa region, VFS Global, the Department does not have any special relationships with outside agencies and does not give preferential treatment to anyone.
- 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 the Department's Dob-In line. See: Border Watch - Report something suspicious