Con artists targeting international students in Australia over visa fines

by Ray Clancy on February 5, 2013

in Education in Australia

Con artists targeting international students in Australia over visa fines

Officials in Australia are warning international students to be wary about con artists who are impersonating immigration officers and demanding money. The Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) said that there are a number of people around who are impersonating departmental officers seeking payment for alleged breaches of visa conditions.

The scammers are targeting overseas students in Australia who have limited working rights as part of their visa conditions. Some students, the department has been told, have even received fake fine notices demanding payment of thousands of dollars for unlawfully working above 40 hours a fortnight.

A departmental spokesman said it was a well organised ruse to con visa holders into transferring a purported penalty payment offshore, when none is needed. ‘The department has received information from a number of students who have been contacted by people claiming to be from immigration related agencies,’ the spokesman said.

Quote from AustraliaForum.com : “I have been looking on easyroommate and flatmates. there are few places there but most of the emails i have got are from scam artists trying to con me. I thought had a place sorted but that person turned out to be a con. so currently nothing inline.”

‘Con artists claiming to be from DIAC tell their targets that their visa working conditions have been breached, advising that a fine has been issued and must be paid in full,’ he explained. ‘Anyone contacted by people seeking such payments should refuse to pay, and should report the incident to police,’ the spokesman added. All such incidents also should be reported to the relevant state or territory police and to the Immigration Dob-In Line on 1800 009 623.

Meanwhile Brendan O’Connor has been sworn in as the new Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, replacing Chris Bowen who has moved to take over the education portfolio in a Cabinet reshuffle. O’Connor is himself an immigrant as he was born in London to Irish parents in 1962 and moved to Australia at the age of six, becoming an Australian citizen in 1995.

‘I am a migrant and a migrant family’s son. My family arrived in Melbourne over 30 years ago. Economically secure but socially turbulent, Australia in the late sixties was providing assistance for people to migrate to this land. Like many immigrants, my parents embarked on a brave journey in the hope of a better life, if not for themselves then for their children,’ O’Connor said in his first speech to Parliament as a new MP in 2002.

‘It may have been a less diverse society back then, and not necessarily as tolerant as Australia has become, but it understood the link between immigration intake and national growth. Australia has always appreciated the migrant’s desire to make a better life and, in doing so, make a better nation. At a time when our population is ageing this personal experience and recent events have served only to reinforce my view that a long term plan on population is required,’

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