Prabhjot Singh, Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, June 26. To fight “fraudulent immigration”, Canada, the United Kingdom (UK) and Australia today cautioned prospective visitors and immigrants against falling a prey to unscrupulous immigration agents.
“All three governments are united in combating immigration fraud,” Sidney Frank, Minister, Immigration, Canadian High Commission, announced here today. He was accompanied by Thomas Greig, Regional Director, K Border Agency, and Jose Alvarez, Minister-Counsellor, Immigration, Australian High Commission, New Delhi. Also present was Canadian Consul-General of Canada in Chandigarh Scot Slessor.
Maintaining that they had been involved in a number of efforts to crack down on unscrupulous immigration agents, the visiting officials said the purpose was not to reveal names or number of attempted frauds, but to create awareness among prospective immigrants.
“They need not go to agents as websites of our countries provide the necessary information they need to file their applications for visas. “Ultimately, it is the unsuspecting applicants who suffer besides facing criminal action and ban on immigration up to 10 years.” They said that unscrupulous agents travelled to villages promising fast-track approval for visas abroad. “What they promise is too good to be true and as such prospective applicants should avoid being duped.”
They said that prospective applicants should not believe that “forged” documents were acceptable and that the decision of the visa officer could be influenced with money or other pressures.
“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 offers 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. “Don’t be fooled.Your investment will be lost, you will be caught and will be denied entry to Canada.”
“We welcome genuine visitors, students and workers. We will not tolerate abuse of our immigration systems and have a zero tolerance to fraud,” said Thomas Greig. “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.
“On uncovering a fraud, including false education and language certificates, the visa is refused and the applicant faces a 10-year ban on travelling to the UK as well as possible action by the Indian authorities,” Greig said.
“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.