Over the past couple of months and as a result of many Greek citizens' endeavours to migrate to Australia we have received numerous complaints from Greek citizens in regard to certain unscrupulous individuals that seek to take advantage of those prospective migrants. In the majority of cases they impersonate immigration agents or representatives from 'authorised' agencies promising to secure permanent residency and work in Australia and asking for fees in advance.
Many compatriots have informed us that these so called 'migrant advisors' are seeking exorbitant amounts of money for the purpose of issuing visas and finding employment. In many cases these 'advisors' persistently endeavour to communicate with potential candidates with phone calls and emails until they receive the relevant funds.
After conducting our own research, we have been able to establish that such 'agencies' have their own websites enticing people to contact them. These websites may be similar to the official Australian Immigration website however they have no affiliation with the department. In particular we note www.ausfis.org is one of the aforementioned agencies which has been classified as a scam.
How do I know if an agent is registered?
To ensure an agent is registered you can search for them through the Australian Government's Migration Agents Registration Authority (MARA): https://www.mara.gov.au/agent/ARSearch.aspx?FolderID=394
The Department recommends for all those interested in migrating to Australia to not provide their personal details to websites or individuals without first ensuring that they are registered with MARA.
What does it cost to use an agent?
The cost of using an agent varies depending on the type of visa you are applying for. On their website MARA lists the average range of fees for Australian Migration Agents: https://www.mara.gov.au/Consumer-Information/What-does-it-cost-to-use-an-Agent-/What-does-it-cost-to-use-an-Agent-/default.aspx
Things to remember:
- No one can guarantee that you will get a visa
- Only the Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship can issue you with a visa refer only to the Department http://www.immi.gov.au/visawizard/
- Australian Visa offices don't call of email people offering them deals to migrate to Australia
- You can pay for your own visa fees directly to the Department and their fees are available on their website: http://www.immi.gov.au/allforms/pdf/990i.pdf
- The Department and registered migration agents will issue you a receipt for any fees paid to them
- The Department will issue a letter confirming your application and you can check the progress of your application online after it has been lodged with you Transaction Reference Number (TRN) which will be issue to you upon applying: http://www.immi.gov.au/e_visa/check-progress.htm
- The Department requires certified copies of original documents not the originals, if originals are required a visa officer from the Department will as for them.
For further information about migration fraud please refer to the Department's website: http://www.immi.gov.au/migration-fraud/