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Scammers taking advantage of Fiji work holiday visa program delays
Fiji has become the target of scammers including travel and recruitment agents who are taking people’s money with the promise of work visas into Australia. The Australian High Commission has warned that while Australia had invited Fiji to join the Seasonal Worker Program and the Work and Holiday Visa program, neither of those arrangements had been implemented. The Australian government is therefore not accepting any applications.

In a media statement the high commission said it was advised of visa scams relating to fake work visa permits for the Seasonal Worker Program and Work and Holiday Visa Program between Australia and Fiji.

“This means that while both the governments of Fiji and Australia are working on these arrangements, no such visas are yet in place for Fijian citizens for these programs,” it stated adding that the high commission will make an announcement once it starts accepting applications.

DIBP is currently in the process of negotiating new and more liberalised Working Holiday Maker visa arrangements with several new partner countries including Mexico, Hungary, Vietnam, San Marino, the Czech Republic, Latvia, the Slovak Republic and Andorra. Earlier this year it signed agreement with Greece, Poland, Spain, Portugal and Israel. However, so far the programs for only Spain and Portugal have started.

China has was recently flagged for 5,000 such visas under the proposed China-Australia Free Trade Agreement and could very well become the next hotbed for scams.

In an eagerness to promote its seasonal worker and working holiday program the department of immigration has gotten into the habit of announcing countries it is planning to allow into these programs many months before it is ready to actually implement the program.

This pattern undoubtedly provides a window of opportunity for scammers to promote scams on the back of DIBPs premature announcements and long lag time to implementation.

Courtesy of Gerry Gomez- Migration Alliance