The UK Border Agency is warning people about a number of scam e-mails and websites claiming to be sent and operated by the organisation and of calls made by people posing as its staff. The agency has confirmed that foreign criminals are advertising fake UK jobs on the internet with individuals that apply being told they have a job and are directed to a link to pay for visa and work permit fees. ‘These websites are not operated by us, and you should not click on any of the links or pay any money,’ said a UKBA spokesman.
It is also believed that international students at a number of UK universities have received calls from individuals who claim they work for the UK Border Agency, giving a false name and a return phone number. ‘These calls are not from the UK Border Agency. The caller may appear to be genuine and convincing and explain that there is a serious problem with your immigration status, and that you need to send a payment as soon as possible to prevent further action including deportation,’ explained the spokesman.
‘The scams which we are aware of have been reported by us to action fraud, the UK’s national fraud reporting centre. There may also be other scams which have not been brought to our attention,’ he added.
The organisation says that anyone who believes that they have received a suspicious communication or come across a suspicious website should not give out any personal information, should not confirm that any personal information they have is correct or make any payment.
Meanwhile, the requirement to provide the UK Border Agency with biometric information has changed as of this week. Anyone from outside the European Economic Area or Switzerland who has been granted permission to stay in the UK for more than six months must now apply for a biometric residence permit if they have not already done so.
‘This is to ensure that we only issue this new format of immigration status document. This is to meet our obligations under European legislation. Biometric residence permits are replacing older forms of documentation and the new format is helping employers and other bodies to check the immigration status and entitlements of foreign nationals,’ said the UKBA spokesman.
‘They are both simpler to understand and are more convenient for foreign nationals living in the UK to use. The application process also enables the agency to check a person against both our records and police fingerprint records,’ he pointed out.
‘We have been rolling out biometric residence permits to different visa categories over the last four years. This means that applicants have been enrolling their biometric information (fingerprints and facial images) to apply for a biometric residence permit at the same time as making their application to stay in the UK. Some people will have applied to stay in the UK before there was a requirement to provide biometric information in their category, and will not have provided their biometric information,’ he said.
Quote from ExpatForum.com : “One scam that is common involves someone hijacking an email account to send worrying messages to friends, family and other email contacts, asking for urgent funds to be sent.”
‘If these people are granted permission to stay on or after 01 December 2012, either at first consideration or after a successful appeal, they will need to apply for a biometric residence permit. These measures are helping to combat illegal immigration, abuse of the immigration system and the misuse of public funds,’ he added.