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South Asia: Countries Unite to Tackle Immigration Fraud

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By A Correspondent *

Chandigarh, India — Canada, the United Kingdom (UK) and Australia are united in their efforts to warn prospective visitors and immigrants of the dangers of being misled by unscrupulous immigration agents, government representatives announced at a news conference today.

Representatives from Citizenship and Immigration Canada, the UK Border Agency and the Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship also sent a clear message to crooked agents that they are working with other countries and with Indian authorities to combat immigration fraud.

Unscrupulous agents have travelled to villages in the Punjab and other parts of India promising fast-track approvals for visas abroad. To avoid being duped – and refused entry into Canada, the UK and Australia – applicants should bear in mind the following:

  • Do not be misled by unscrupulous agents into believing that it is acceptable to submit forged documents with your visa application. The application will be refused and you face further investigation by the Indian authorities.
  • Do not believe agents who say that they can, in exchange for money, influence how fast applications are processed or the final decision. They cannot. Visa decisions are made only by visa officers authorized by the respective country.
  • Do not be fooled by imposters pretending to be visa officers from Embassies. Legitimate visa officers do not meet applicants outside their offices nor do they contact you to ask for money.
  • Do not be fooled by fake websites designed to look like official government or service delivery partner websites. Always get your visa information from official websites.
  • Do not be duped by a job or visa scam. Many people are being cheated with job offers overseas that do not exist. Stop and think before your hand over your money, passport and personal details. If the job offer sounds too good to be true, it could be a scam.

“Crooked immigration agents often advise applicants to provide fake documentation or enter into marriages of convenience,” said Sidney Frank, Canada’s Area Director for Immigration in South Asia. “Don’t be fooled. Your investment will be lost, you will be caught, and you will be denied entry to Canada.”

“We welcome genuine visitors, students and workers to the UK. However, we will not tolerate abuse of our immigration system and have a zero tolerance to fraud,” said Thomas Greig, Regional Director, South Asia, UK Border Agency. “I strongly advise anyone who wants a visa for the UK not to listen to agents who offer to sell forged documents and say that they can guarantee a visa. We have very effective processes for detecting fraud and work with our international partners and Indian authorities to do so. When we uncover fraud, including false education and language certificates, the visa will be refused and the applicant will face a ten year ban on travelling to the UK, as well as possible action by the Indian authorities.”

“Fraud is a criminal offence in Australia and can lead to severe penalties for those involved. But ultimately the responsibility for a visa application lies with the applicant,” said Jose Alvarez, Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship’s Regional Director of South Asia. “Providing fraudulent documents or misleading information can result in severe consequences not just for the agent but also the applicant. Applicants need to protect themselves from immigration fraud by being aware of the ways people may try to take advantage of them and their situation.”

Applying for a visa is a relatively simple and straight-forward procedure and information and the visa application forms themselves are all available on official government websites, free of charge. If applicants decide to use agents, they should choose them very carefully.

Backgrounder: Tackling immigration fraud in Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia

Picture: Representatives from Citizenship and Immigration Canada, the UK Border Agency and the Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship | Credit: Flickr.com

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