Batswana are losing over P20 000 per person to well organised impostors selling fake visas to Canada and United States of America (USA) and offering non-existent jobs to Batswana job-seekers, an international agency that processes travel documents, warned this week. Janice Devlin a regulated Immigration Consultant with Herndon Immigration Consulting says the agency is now “annoyed” from the escalating incidents of fraud under the scheme.
“The scheme has not only been attracting desperate youth job seekers, but has also targeted wealthy families and households of low income,” warned Devlin. From her assessment, she said the scammers managed to con at least 60 Batswana of more than P1 200 000 since January this year.
Whilst the scam works in different ways, she said the two most common ways are “where the fraudstersmake assurances to the applicant that they will obtain a visa to enter USA or Canada and work. Basically, this is an open work permit but does not exist for people living outside USA or Canada,” he explained.The other way is when the fraudsters say that they can find the applicants jobs by securing letters of employment from American or Canadian firms.
Amongst other things Devlin stated that these scams are becoming a global problemespecially with American immigration in general. “These fraudsters were prevalent in China, but now the fraudsters are making inroads into Southern African, especially Botswana and South Africa,” says Devlin.
The fake fraudsters are also believed to have bought ads worth thousands of pula a day that put them ahead of authorised and legitimate companies in online searches for visas.
An official from the Immigration department who spoke to SUNDAY STANDARD said, “it is the duty of every citizen of Botswana to abide by the visa requirements of from every country including doing due diligence on whether a company actually exists or a university operates properly.”