Protect Yourself from Migration Fraud
For people who wish to migrate to Australia, a temporary or permanent visa is required. The type of visa and the subclass will depend on the circumstances and requirements of each individual. Anyone who meets the conditions stipulated by the Australian Department of Immigration can apply for a visa. In fact, it is possible to apply personally without any involvement from middlemen.
If you do take professional help, be careful not to get involved with a fraudulent agent. There are many agents who are unregistered and are operating illegally. There are numerous cases where illegal agents take money promising a guaranteed visa for the applicant and then disappear without a trace. Hence, it is essential to protect yourself from migration fraud of this nature.
Guarding Yourself from Fraud
First and foremost, you need to ensure the agent which you engage is registered with the Migration Agents Registration Authority (MARA). You can contact this department directly by calling 1300 22 62 72 or checking the validity of your agent on the official MARA website, www.mara.gov.au. To confirm if an agent is registered, you can also check for the words Migration Agent Registration Number or MARN on your agents official stationery.
Here are a Few Useful Tips to Keep in Mind while Dealing with Agents:
Guaranteed Visa: No visa is guaranteed. There is a fixed set of rules and only if all the conditions are met will a visa be granted.
Register and Pay immediately to show interest: The department will not ask for this. You only need to pay charges while lodging the application.
Your only chance in your lifetime: If you are solicited on the telephone, email or any other means stating this claim, it is a false one. Australian visa officers will only contact you if there is some clarification required in connection with a visa application already lodged.
Only the Agent can pay the Fees: Make it a point to pay your fees personally. For overseas applicants, the department has arrangements with service delivery partners. You can get information on how to pay on: http://www.immi.gov.au/allforms/990i/how-to-pay.htm.
The Agent claims to have a Special Relationship with the Department: There is no such thing as a special relationship. All agents are treated equally.
The Agent assures you that all is well: Do not go by the agents verbal assurances. Ask for documentary evidence. Alternatively, you can check the status of your application on http://www.immi.gov.au/contacts/visa-enquiries/
The agent asks for original documents such as passport, birth certificate or marriage certificate: Usually only certified copies are required. In the event that an original document is required, the department will contact you directly for this.
It should always be kept in mind that regardless of who completes an application, the applicant is ultimately responsible for it as it is that person whose signature is held on the document. Hence it is a goodthing to monitor the progress of your visa application personally.
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