Australian Embassy

Visitor visa scam

Visitor visa work scams

Don’t get caught in a visa scam – an Australian visitor visa does not have any work rights.

Don’t risk it. You can be stopped before boarding your flight or refused entry to Australia by the Australian Border Force if you are coming to Australia to work illegally.

Be aware: you could be caught in a visa scam if:

  • the advertisement lists only a first name and number
  • the employer or agent demands that you pay them a large upfront amount of cash for an Australian visitor visa
  • you are told to get an Australian visitor visa for work
  • you are told to set up a company and to apply for an Australian Business Number (ABN) in order to work
  • the agent organises fake documents and photographs
  • the agent will only provide you with a handwritten contract or handwritten agreement
  • you are promised permanent residence in Australia 
  • the employer or agent uses the Australian coat of arms on their website to deceive people into thinking that what they are offering is approved by the Australian Government
  • you are told you will be paid in cash only
  • you are told you won’t be required to get an Australian Government Tax File Number
  • the employer or agent in Australia does not have an Australian Business Number (ABN)
  • you are offered a rate of pay below the minimum Australian wage which all foreign workers are entitled to (see

Be aware of fake migration agents. In Australia, migration agents need to be registered with the Office of the Migration Agents Registration Authority (

If you choose to engage in visa fraud and do not go through official channels to apply for an Australian visitor or work visa, you risk:

  • losing any upfront cash that you have paid to the agent
  • having your visa refused and being excluded from obtaining a further visa to Australia for up to 10 years
  • not being permitted on the flight to Australia
  • being refused entry to Australia at the Australian border by the Australian Border Force
  • being stranded at an Australian airport or city
  • being exposed to forced or slave labour
  • not being paid at all by the employer or agent
  • being located and detained by the Australian Border Force and removed from Australia
  • going home with far less money than when you arrived.


In order to protect yourself from visa scams, you should only deal with reputable agents or official Australian Government channels such as the departmental website ( or Australian Visa Application Centres.  For further information you can contact the Australian High Commission or Embassy in your country (

If you are aware of, or suspect a scam in relation to Australian visas and working in Australia, please report this to the consulate in Shanghai by emailing or report it to Australia’s Border Watch by visiting


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Page last updated  9 January  2018