Canberra – The Australian government has cautioned students holding student visas in the country against persons posing as immigration officials and duping foreign and international students into paying fines as penalties for allegedly working illegally.
The Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) said in a statement that the scammers belong to a well-organized group that preys on foreign students who, under their visa terms, are only allowed to work less than 40 hours every fortnight.
The department said part of the scammer’s modus operandi include calling students with expired visas and telling them that they must pay penalties in full to an offshore account.
The statement said DIAC has received complaints from several students that the scammers have contacted in the past weeks, informing them that they have violated their visa terms by working illegally. The scammer would then demand payment as penalties for the violation.
The agency said they are conducting an investigation to determine the extent of the scam operations and formulate an action against the group.
At present, there are more than 300,000 foreign and international students in the country who are legitimate holders of student visas and are all potential targets of the scam.
The agency has asked students to report to them all incidents to their office and the police as they advised students to decline payment demand of the scammers.