DIAC warns against mobile apps for migration information

Date: Jun 07, 2012

Anyone seeking migration advice should seek the expertise of migration lawyers or other reputable sources, as opposed to turning to mobile applications.

This is the latest guidance issued by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC), which suggested that there has been a rise in unregistered advice.

As a result, people are finding themselves facing false guarantees of a migration outcome that could lead to all sorts of problems.

A DIAC spokesperson said: "Tablet PC and smartphone apps are another avenue that scammers and unscrupulous operators have explored to take advantage of vulnerable people, in a similar manner to unsolicited phone calls and hoax emails."

The public are advised to ignore these requests and delete them to avoid encountering any problems.

The DIAC has been made aware of a number of mobile applications that offer guidance on applying for a visa, with many of them failing to explain all the necessary detail that the person needs to be successful.

Other common scams include providing incorrect advice on how to speed up visa applications.

"Not only would the information provided be potentially false or misleading, but may also jeopardize a genuine application," the spokesperson continued.

Individuals who attempt to defraud the system find themselves at serious risk, they emphasised, so it is worth following all the correct channels from the outset.

By failing to respect the visa system, the DIAC warns that those giving unregistered immigration advice can impact the lives of large numbers of people, as well as the integrity of Australian migration.

Not only this, but the country's visa programs can be put under threat.

Efforts are currently underway throughout Australia to streamline the visa system and reduce the amount of red tape that businesses and individuals come up against.

One major change has been the introduction of the Significant Investor visa program, which aims to encourage investment by entrepreneurs and businesspeople from overseas.

Minister for immigration and citizenship Chris Bowen highlighted that the scheme is designed to help improve job growth and economic development - other countries have already experienced success with similar initiatives.

The UK, New Zealand, Singapore and Canada have all targeted migrants in a similar way, which has had a positive impact on the condition of the domestic economy.

Those arriving in Australia under a Significant Investor visa will face reduced residency requirements and will not be expected to undergo a points test, in recognition of their contribution to the economy.