Australia has reminded Malaysians seeking to work in the country to be on alert to visa scams and to carefully check their visa conditions. (File Pix)

KUALA LUMPUR: Australia has reminded Malaysians seeking to work in the country to be on alert to visa scams and to carefully check their visa conditions.

It is concerned that some Malaysians are being tricked into scams in which agents offer travel to and work in Australia with an Electronic Travel Authority (ETA).

In a statement today the Australian High Commission said that people who are scammed often find themselves underpaid and living in sub-standard conditions.

“Malaysians were amongst a group of more than 225 illegal workers located during a recent Australia-wide operation by the Australian Border Force targeting visa fraud and the exploitation of foreign workers.”

It adds that the illegal workers had overstayed their visas or were working in breach of their visa conditions, including their ETA. They were located working in industries ranging from agriculture to retail and hospitality.

It adds that most Malaysians are able to travel to Australia on an ETA.

“However, an ETA does not carry any right to work in Australia”.

The High Commission said it is the responsibility of individual travelers to ensure they have the correct visa to visit, study or work in Australia. Visa Finder helps travelers search for the right visa: www.border.gov.au/trav/visa-1.

People involved in the organisation of visa fraud or illegal work can face penalties of up to 10 years’ imprisonment, or fines up to AUD$210,000. Individuals caught working illegally in Australia are detained and removed to their home country. They may also face a ban on future travel to Australia and incur the costs of their removal.

The statement said that representatives of the Malaysian and Australian Governments recently met in Canberra and

agreed to work together to address this issue.

Australian High Commissioner to Malaysia, Rod Smith, said the scams were deliberately misleading people into breaking Australian law. “We don’t want to see Malaysians exploited by unscrupulous agents,” he said.

“The Australian Government is urging all travelers to ensure they understand what their visa or ETA allows them to do while in Australia”, he adds.