#Article (Archive)

The unscrupulous visa deals

Feb 29, 2012, 12:57 PM

Of late we’ve been seeing reports of desperate would-be immigrants being swindled by unscrupulous elements in society.

The swindlers give their victims the impression that they can provide them with a visa, notably UK and American visas, the ones which are most sought after.

In most cases, they get them to pay as much as sixty thousand dalasi, which is above the actual official charges.

But out of desperation to reach Europe or America, the would-be travellers seem to have no choice, but to pay this huge amount of money.

At the end of the drama, the agents disappear as soon as the money is handed over to them.

If the victims are lucky, they may be able to track down the swindlers, drag them to court and make them to face the full force of the law.

Unfortunately, not all of the victims have so far been successful in tracking down their swindlers, as some of the dealers just disappear into thin air and are never seen after the deal.

We read with keen interest, an interview with the consular officer at the US Embassy published in a local newspaper this week, in which Andrew Utschig rubbished and described as ‘fake’ the conception by certain individuals and businesses operating in the country, that are allegedly misleading visa applicants that they can secure them visa without their personal presence at the embassy for the normal procedure.

“If they are telling you that they are officially connected to the embassy or they have business relations with the embassy, it is not true. If someone is asking anyone for a lot more money for a visa, it may be a scam.

“The legitimate businesses will only charge a fee to help applicants complete their visa applications, but getting a visa is up to the applicant. Therefore, securing a visa is up to the applicant, and not through such businesses,” Utschig was quoted as saying.

But why are the victims so easily duped? There are two possible explanations: One is because they get desperate in life, and want to go to the West at all cost; and, the other is because they are just as unscrupulous as the perpetrators of the scam.

If they don’t want to be swindled, then they should go through the right channels to obtain their visas. So long as they depend on questionable sources to get a visa, they will always be victims of undesirable elements, who are just lurking around to prey on the next victim.

As we always emphasize in these pages, we believe it is high time that our courts tried not only visa dealers, but also their victims, who without any doubt would know very well that the people they are dealing with are scammers and unscrupulous individuals.

It is strange that prospective travellers seem not to learn from the bad experiences of others. Perhaps they feel that they are immune to the machinations of these fraudsters.

It looks as if the more they are exposed, the more victims they get. This is baffling indeed!

“Wrongdoing can only be avoided if those who are not wronged feel the same indignation at it as those who are.”