Wednesday, April 24, 2024
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Complaints against visa consultants continue to soar

The Consumer Council of Fiji is worried with the rising number of complaints against visa consultants in Fiji and Australia.

In recent cases, consumers have allegedly faced substantial financial losses and received inadequate service from visa consulting firms.

Council chief executive, Seema Shandil said in one of these cases, a couple engaged a visa consulting firm to aid in their application for Australian student visas, paying over $10,000 in fees.

Shandil said the couple later discovered that they had received incorrect advice from their consultants regarding their eligibility, leading to substantial financial losses.

In a separate case, Shandil said an applicant faced losses when he followed his agents’ advice to apply for an Australian student visa for cookery studies, despite already having sufficient qualifications in a completely different field.

Rather than advising their client to build upon his existing qualifications for career progression, the firm encouraged him to opt for cookery, which would mean starting his career again from scratch and neglecting the potential for advancement in his current profession.

The Council noted that in both of these cases, the consultants failed their clients, who were expecting expert career and educational advice which could likely lead to a successful visa application.

Shandil said consumers engage consultants for expert guidance and actions likely to result in a positive visa outcome, and they’re not merely form-fillers.

“Unfortunately, some consultants lack the necessary expertise, providing uninformed guidance that overlooks individuals’ career paths and potential.”

“Simply obtaining a visa through any means should not be the sole objective, but instead, the focus should be on leveraging and enhancing the current skills and educational background of applicants to improve their future visa prospects,” Shandil added.

Meanwhile the Council, in the past 3 years, has registered over 60 complaints against visa consultants, worth over $180,000.

Ilaitia Ravuwai
Ilaitia Ravuwai
Journalist | news@fijilive.com

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