How to Easily Identify and Avoid UK Skilled Worker Visa Scams

It’s becoming obvious and rampant that scammers posing as UK skilled workers agents are taking advantage of innocent foreign nationals, especially Nigerians, by giving them fake job promises.

According to a Sky News investigation, individuals are losing large sums of money as a result of these fake job offers under the UK Skilled Worker visa system.

This supports the need for a guide to understanding the process, as well as red flags to avoid.

This article takes you on a journey to learn how to spot UK skilled worker visa scams and how to avoid them.

Let’s get the ride started!

What are Work Visa Scams?

A scam is described as an intentional attempt to deceive people to steal money, property, or personal information.

Work visa scams sometimes entail fraudulent promises of permanent residence and work.

These frauds can target people of diverse ages, backgrounds, and educational levels. Such scams can be carried out via email, letter, telephone, or even in person.

Work visa scams usually entail an offer of a visa in exchange for personal information or cash, which may include obtaining a pledge from you to repay a portion of your income once a post is finalized.

The person making the offer may claim to know someone in the government who can arrange the visa or that they have a particular link with the appropriate authority.

If you are offered a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity or informed that the only route to relocate is through a person, it may be a work visa scam.

Skilled Worker Visa System

The UK skilled worker visa system permits candidates to enter or remain in the country to work for an approved business in an eligible position. It superseded the Tier 2 (General) work visa and permits employment in UK waters.

Long-term sponsored work visas granted to main applicants climbed by more than two and a half times (+161%) in 2022, from 63,757 in 2019 to 166,408, according to UK Home Office data.

Who is eligible for a work visa?

Individuals who earn 70 points by meeting specified eligibility conditions, such as skill and income level, English language proficiency, and a qualifying employment offer from a UK business with a valid sponsorship license, are eligible for the visa.

The Skilled Worker visa allows spouses, ‘durable’ partners, and dependent children to seek to join the primary visa applicant in the UK as Skilled Worker dependents.

A skilled worker visa is valid for up to five years, after which the worker can apply for UK Indefinite Leave to Remain.

While the UK skilled worker visa system has grown in popularity among applicants, an investigation by UK-based Sky News discovered that it is being exploited, with intermediaries receiving large sums of money to arrange jobs in the UK as carers who do not exist.

How to Avoid UK Skilled Worker Visa Scams

1. Understand the eligibility criteria: The apparent difficulty of the visa procedure has prompted many people to seek the assistance of agents.

Typically, immigration lawyers play a role, but applicants must grasp how the procedure works.

To be eligible, you must first accumulate 70 points. The applicable 70-point threshold for a Skilled Worker visa consists of 50 points for mandatory or ‘non-tradeable’ criteria (i.e., the work offer, speaking English, and the required skill level for the job on offer) and 20 points for ‘tradeable’ criteria.

An expert can provide more information and certify that the program is the best option.

2. Confirm that the prospective employer fits the requirements: The scheme requires both the applicant and the sponsor to prove that the employer/sponsor is legitimate to start with.

Under the conditions of the skilled worker visa, an applicant is not permitted to work in any other job category and is limited to 20 hours per week under another employer, such as in the care industry. Changing sponsors is generally impossible under the scheme.

As a result, check that the prospective sponsor/employer meets the 20-point minimum requirement for job sponsorship eligibility.

If the candidate is going through an agent, he must request a copy of the potential employer’s valid sponsorship license with an ‘A’ rating. Also, request proof that the sponsor has paid the ‘Immigration Skills Charge’.

3. Insist on seeing a Certificate of Sponsorship: Before the agency files the visa application, insist on seeing a genuine Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) to establish that the applicant and role are sponsorship eligible.

The CoS is a reference number that the skilled worker visa applicant must supply with their Home Office application. Only licensed sponsors can issue a CoS.

There are now two sorts of Certificates of Sponsorship: defined and undefined. Applicants residing in Nigeria would get the ‘Defined CoS’ from their sponsor, which includes the specific job and salary.

The UK Home Office investigates to determine if a vacancy is real, and the ‘Certificate of Sponsorship’ confirms this.

It is important to note that these checks will assist you in avoiding being misled by both fraudulent middlemen and a false employer in the United Kingdom.

Sometimes these agents are part of the same network. Ensure that your talents fulfill the requirements. Skilled worker visa holders can only work in particular roles.

To be eligible, the role must be classified as Regulated Qualifications Framework (RFQ) level 3 or higher.

This is equivalent to an A-level. Any roles considered lower than this will not meet the skilled worker visa standards.

A skilled worker visa application may be refused if it is found that the job is being advertised or the applicant’s skills and experience do not meet the applicable SOC code and skill level requirements.

4. Ensure that the remuneration meets the approved threshold: The Skilled Worker visa general minimum income requirement is the higher of £26,200 per year, £10.75 per hour, or the ‘going rate’ for the specific role being recruited for.

Each occupational code is assigned a ‘going rate’. If the remuneration is too low or too much over the threshold, it should raise concerns.

5. Confirm that you meet the financial maintenance requirements: The applicant must demonstrate that they meet the financial requirements and have adequate cash to maintain themselves because they will not have access to public funding such as benefits.

The guidelines require applicants to have at least £1,270 in their bank account before applying.

This sum must have been available for at least 28 consecutive days, with day 28 falling within 31 days after submitting the visa application.

The applicant must give proof of their savings, or if their sponsor agrees to cover up to £1,270 in costs during their first month in the UK. Dependents would attract a greater display of wealth.

There are other inspections to complete, but these are some of the most important. This is especially essential given the significant shift toward skilled worker visa schemes.

Tips to Prevent Falling for the UK Visa Scam

  • The scammers promise an easy job in the UK with no official job interview.
  • Alternatively, they guarantee a faster and smoother UK visa process.
  • The scammers will try to force you to act quickly or your offer will be cancelled.
  • The scammers ask you to pay a specific sum in cash or via insecure payment methods such as money transfers, Ukash vouchers, or Paysafecard. Did you know that some payment options do not allow the recipient to be tracked?
  • Scammers will contact you via phone or email and request confidential information, such as bank account numbers or credit card information.
  • Their website does not appear professional, and there will be no information about their organisation.
  • They may send emails using a free email service like Hotmail, Yahoo Mail, or Gmail. A reputable UK employer or immigration agent will not utilize Hotmail or Gmail email addresses.

How to Identify a UK Visa Immigration Scam?

Here are ways to identify a UK Visa Immigration Scam

Telephonic UK Visa Immigration Scam

Someone calling you, claiming to be an agency or a government representative, and asking for personal or sensitive information is a red flag!

These demands may include a passport number, financial information, and a request that you pay for your application.

If you are a target of such visa fraud in the UK, you can do the following three things:

  • Never offer any personal information to the caller.
  • Say “no” or “no, thank you.”
  • Hang up the phone.

Local Business UK Visa Immigration Scam

Local businesses may promise or guarantee that they can assist people with obtaining visas or other vital immigration documents.

However, when these businesses pretend to offer this type of support, they are most likely operating Immigration Fraud UK to simply take your money without providing you with results.

To avoid this, do some digging! Conduct thorough research, such as checking out the company’s website and social media profiles.

Dotcom UK Visa Immigration Scam

Modern immigration fraud in the UK sometimes involves internet services or enterprises that resemble registered law firms’ emblems, language, and appearance.

To avoid this, verify the URL for the website (i.e., the end of the website’s address); the ‘https’ in the link must include the’s at the end – it symbolizes secure financial correspondence.

Some easy ways to identify a UK Visa Immigration Scam

When there is something suspicious about the caller, keep the following in mind:

  • The scammers promise simple employment in the UK with no official job interview or a quicker and smoother UK visa process.
  • Their website does not appear professional, and there is no information about their organization.
  • The scammers ask you to pay a specific amount either in cash or by utilizing insecure payment methods such as money transfers, Ukash vouchers, or Paysafecard, which do not allow a recipient to be traced.
  • Scammers will contact you via phone or email and request confidential information, such as bank account numbers or credit card information.
  • The scammers will try to force you to act immediately or your offer will be canceled.

FAQS

How may scammers contact you regarding UK visa immigration?

You may receive correspondence by phone calls, emails, WhatsApp messaging, SMS, and so on.

How can I report a fake visa?

If the fraud occurred in the UK, you can report it to the UK Home Office or the Action Fraud website. To file a complaint, contact complaints@homeoffice.gov.uk or go to https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/.

If the behavior occurred outside of the United Kingdom, you can report it to your local authorities/police station. They typically have a cyber squad that investigates such acts.

How do I report visa scams?

If you shared your banking or credit card information or completed a transaction in response to a message, email, or phone call, contact your bank or card issuer right away to report the fraudulent activity.

If this happens when you are in the UK seeking a visa extension or switching routes, go to the Action Fraud website. It is the UK’s national reporting center for fraud and cybercrime, and you must report fraud if you have been defrauded or duped.

If you apply from your own country, register a complaint with the nearby police station. In most cases, they have a cybercrime department that will do additional investigations. You can also seek information online; if your country, such as the United Kingdom, has a particular website for immigration fraud, you can report it there.

How can I know if my UK visa is genuine or fake?

While some nations allow you to submit your passport number and follow your application, this is not the case in the United Kingdom. However, here is what you can do to check with the immigration office to see if your application is in their system.

You can send an email to the UK Home Office with your inquiry.

In essence, this is certifying that your application is in the correct hands rather than tracking it.

Conclusion

Getting a UK skilled worker visa is sensitive and an important step toward your career pursuit. However, the rate of scams targeted at applicants needs a proactive and cautious approach.

Applicants can reduce the chance of getting scammed when they detect red flags for themselves and follow the right application processes.

This article gave a piece of in-depth information on how to spot UK skilled worker visa scams and how to avoid them.

By following this guide, you can rest assured that you will not fall victim to scams. Good luck!

 

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