How overseas workers and students can avoid being scammed by overseas agents
Author: Karen Kaur
Biometric appointments are mandatory
When you apply for any UK visa that is longer than 6 months or a short-term visitor visa from certain countries you will need to attend a biometric appointment in your country of residence. These appointments are a mandatory part of your application, so you must attend for your application to be processed.
In this blog, we explore the ways in which overseas agents are exploiting applicants and what you can do to avoid being scammed.
Brokers are scamming overseas workers and students
Recent investigations found that overseas workers and students are being targeted by brokers selling UK visa appointments for hundreds of pounds. Brokers in some parts of South Asia are charging up to £800 for biometric appointments, which are widely advertised on Facebook and the Telegram messaging service.
The problems are understood to be far-reaching across other countries.
These brokers use various methods such as automated bots to detect newly released slots before booking them on a clients’ behalf, while others manually monitor VFS Global’s booking portal.
VFS Global is the outsourcing company contracted by the UK Home Office to handle UK visa applications for seventy governments, including the UK. They release free appointments randomly on a first-come, first-served basis and are aware of the abuse of the appointment system by agents which has increased significantly over the last year.
VFS Global is cracking down on middlemen who are charging a premium or scamming applicants by selling slots that do not exist.
The Home Office is also taking robust action to tackle abuse of the appointment booking system and is working closely with VFS Global to introduce measures to put a stop to this fraudulent behaviour and ensure appointments are made available to genuine individuals.
What you can do to stay safe
We advise you to stay clear of unauthorised agents and only book appointments through the official VFS Global website.
To maximise finding a free appointment, check the website at various times during the day and night as these appointments are released randomly throughout a 24 hour period.
If you would like any advice on UK immigration, please don't hesitate to get in touch with the team here at Migrate UK.Back