Every time we hear a prospective client tell me that their girl has gone off to apply for a tourist visa I shudder a bit. There are so many scam artists. Every Travel Agent in the Philippines thinks they can get visas, and will never say no to anybody. But some of them take it even further.
We had a client a few months ago who had been conned into applying for a visa through them. The “agent” told them he had a close friend in the Australian Embassy in Manila, and he would be able to fast-track the visa for them. He promised them three days. He also left out essential information, and told several lies. The visa was refused.
This left the client disappointed and out-of-pocket. It also left them with plane tickets that expired.
We took over the case, and she is now in Australia. We did this by telling the truth….and by explaining what had happened before….and by preparing a sound and professional visa application, as a client should expect.
Second situation was only a few days ago, when the prospective sponsor told us his fiancee was organising a tourist visa. She had gone to Manila to attend seminars….to “prepare for her interview”….and to do her Medical examination.
1. You do NOT have to “attend seminars” for tourist visas!
2. I have NEVER heard of a tourist visa applicant being interviewed. The Case Officer MAY ask a few questions over the phone, but I’ve yet to hear of a formal interview.
3. Tourist visas require a chest xray ONLY if the visa is for 6 months or more. No Medical examinations. And if they require anything, they will issue a request and a special number AFTER the application is lodged. Without this number, the authorized clinics will not see the applicant.
Therefore this applicant was being conned big time!
We at Down Under Visa are Registered Migration Agents with MARA (Migration Agents Registration Authority). MARA is run by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship, and regulates those who may legally give migration advice. It requires post-graduate university studies, police clearances and background checks, etc, and it requires adherence to a Code of Conduct which is written into Law. If I do anything dishonest, I lose my registration! I won’t risk my livelihood for the sake of one visa application. I’d rather miss out altogether than lie to a client or lie on an application. We’re busy enough with legitimate business anyway!
And regarding the first “agent” with the “friend in the Embassy”? Forget it! I’ve never come across a single incidence of corruption in the Australian Embassy in Manila. We play by the rules anyway, and we get a very high rate of success with legitimate applications. So we’ll stick to that.
If you need help with a visa, especially partner visas (prospective marriage visas, fiancee visas, spouse visas, de facto visas) for applicants from Philippines, please contact us on and get a free assessment of your case.