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DIAC warns of phone scam targeting visa holders

posted Dec 10, 2012, 4:52 PM by Caroline Bascara
The Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) is warning that visa holders should hang up the phone on imposters posing as DIAC officials.

A current scheme has been uncovered where fraudulent DIAC personnel are seeking payments from visa holders over "irregularities".

Known targets of this scam are Indian nationals who are holding temporary resident immigration visas.

Other demographics that are also at risk are those on a 457 subclass visa who are working in the information and communications technology sector.

A spokesperson said that the aim of these people is to extract money from holders, who claim to need payment as a penalty for the non-existent oddities with the visa.

The spokesperson commented: "Our investigations team has received information from a number of Indian clients who have been contacted by people claiming to be from immigration-related agencies.

"Conmen claiming to be from fabricated 'immigration' or 'border security' agencies tell targets their visa details are out of date, specifying an identification number."

The representative added that the caller will ask them for their identification in order to 'confirm' their details and then they warn if there is a failure to pay, their visa could be cancelled and they could be sent to prison.

The DIAC is endeavouring to gather evidence domestically and abroad in an attempt to locate and prosecute these people.

Departmental experts say that should someone call you who sounds like they're a part of this scam, tell them they won't be getting any money, that you are aware of their fraudulent activity and you will be contacting the police.

By contacting authorities, there is a greater chance of catching the people responsible.

It comes as Australian Bureau of Statistics data shows that overseas born immigrants have filled a shortage of engineers in the country.

The resources boom is driving the demand for these specialists in Western Australia and the Northern Territory.

Stephen Durkin of Engineers Australia said to the ABC that this shortage indicates a problem.

He explained: "There's around about 7,000 engineers last year who came to Australia on a temporary work visa to work as engineers and that figure's roughly tripled in the past seven or eight years.

"As a nation, we're relying on that short-term immigration in order to meet the demand and to do the work on these infrastructure projects."

reference: Migration Alliance News, 05 December  2012

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