Australian visa applicants have been warned once again to avoid unscrupulous migration agencies targeting people interested in migrating to Australia.
The repeated warning comes following a host of recent complaints made to the Department of Immigration and Border Protection about AUSFIS, an offshore web-based migration agency. The agency is alleged to have induced individuals to pay for visa applications that were never lodged.
Speaking last week, Assistant Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, Senator Michaelia Cash warned that the website invites people to register their interest by submitting an online web-form with their contact details.
“Once registered, applicants are contacted by phone or email they are asked to pay a fee ranging from AUS$300 to AUS$3,000 via credit card in return for an ‘Immigration Package to Australia’,” the Senator explained.
“However, several users of AUSFIS’s services have alleged that, once payment has been made, they either hear nothing further, or receive an email advising they are ineligible to apply for a visa.”
Where people have paid money by credit card to AUSFIS, or any other migration agency for a service they did not ultimately receive, they can contact their credit card provider and lodge a ‘disputed payment’ grievance with them. The credit card provider may be able to retrieve all or part of the money paid.
“AUSFIS has no influence on visa decision-making and does not represent the Australian government,” Senator Cash continued. “The Department of Immigration and Border Protection has no record of visa applications lodged by AUSFIS and the Office of the Migration Agents Registration Authority (MARA) does not list any registered migration agents connected with AUSFIS,” she added.
MARA is responsible for the registration of all migration agents who may have dealing with the Department of Immigration and Border Protection, and it is therefore often recommended that people should only ever deal with agencies who are MARA-registered.
You can check to see which agents are registered by visiting the MARA website: www.mara.gov.au
Article published 6th November 2013