Beware the Australian Visa Scam - Australian Visas for Thai Nationals
Australian Visa for Thai Nationals

Beware the Australian Visa Scam

Tips for not getting scammed by Visa Agents

We hear of problems with unregistered agents in Thailand all the time. Below is a list of tips for not getting scammed by unregistered migration agents posing as Australian Migration Agents in Thailand. Sadly, the Australian government will take a visa application from anyone. Anyone can say they are Visa Agent in Thailand. Not many people understand the laws Australian registered migration agents must follow. Below is a quick outline of some keys points to look for. It will hopefully help you make the correct decision about choosing your migration agent.

Get it in writing

The first thing to ask for is a written contract or statement of services. This document should include all information about the agent, what work they will do,  how much they charge, including what work they won’t do. It should also explain your right to terminate the agreement, your payment terms and timeframes, your rights to confidentiality and most importantly your rights to documents. If the agent says you can’t have any of your documents, this should be a sign they are not acting in accordance with Australian Law. You must sign this document to agree to the services provided, before any work can commence.

Consumer Guide

Your Migration agent should give you a consumer guide published by the Australian Office of Migration Agents Registration Authority. By law they have to give you a copy.

956 Form must be signed

Any agent acting lawfully for you, MUST get you to sign a Form 956 from the Department of Immigration and Border Protection. Any registered migration agent working for you, must complete this form with you and you must sign it to allow the agent to deal with the DIBP on your behalf. The DIBP will not accept an application from agent unless you have given the agent permission to act on your behalf.  Also check to ensure they complete this form before you sign it. Do not sign blank forms.

Sign your visa application

If it is a paper application, you must sign it before being submitted. It cannot be submitted without your signature. If you do not sign it, then who is signing it for you? It is a legal document and if found to be falsified it can have serious consequences for you. So sign your visa application and form 956 as above.

Pretending to be you

This is a by far the biggest scam, the agent creates a fake email address pretending to be you and sends this to the DIBP. The DIBP then thinks they are dealing with you. To stop this you can ask for a receipt of lodgement of the visa application, it should show the visa agents name on the application. You could also ask for a copy of your application after it has been lodged, it should clearly show the name of the migration agent on the application. If their names not there, somethings not correct.

False promise of an outcome

No agent by law can promise you an outcome. If they promise you an outcome then be very clear, this is not in accordance with law. Any statements saying they have contacts at the embassy or DIBP is false and misleading. No Australian registered migration agent is allowed to make these statements.

Passport being withheld from you

Your passport belongs to you and the Australian government. No agent should ask to keep your passport. Yes they will need a copy of it, but they should not keep it. It belongs to the Australian government first, then you second. Beware of identity fraud. Any registered migration agent should get a copy only and return it to you as soon as possible.

Your rights to any documents

You have the right to any of your documents. No registered agent can refuse you access to your documents.

Making threats to you

No agent can make threats to you or family, they cannot manipulate or pressure you by Australian law.

Payments and Invoices

Any money paid to the agent must be receipted with an invoice. If you don’t receive an invoice for money paid then a question should be raised.

Lastly – Check for Australian Registration HERE

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