Beware of Visa Agents in The Philippines

The Norwegian Embassy in Manila has posted an advisory on its website warning prospective visa applicants about bogus and unscrupulous people or companies posing as visa agents who demand “show money” among other things from the prospective applicant and promising jobs which are supposedly waiting for the latter in Norway.
 Victims of this scam end up trafficked or abused in Norway, with many returning to the Philippines with huge debts.
 The Norwegian Embassy strongly recommends that applicants deal with the former directly and to not use middle men in their visa applications.
 Reproduced below is the Norwegian Embassy’s advisory, which can also be accessed here:

Beware of Visa Agents


Every week, the Norwegian Embassy is contacted by applicants who have been framed by Visa Agents and lost a lot of money. Some agents operate right outside the Embassy building and claim to be working for the Embassy. Please take note that Embassy staff do not operate outside the Visa Service Centre or outside the Chancery in the 21st floor in Petron Mega Plaza Building in Makati.


Warning!
There is a number of different agents and agencies operating around in the Philippines. Some agents operate outside the Embassy building, claiming to be Embassy staff.
 Every week, the Embassy learns of new cases where applicants have been framed by Visa Agents or Visa Agencies.
 The Norwegian Embassy does not deal or co-operate with any agents or agencies, and all Embassy staff work inside the Visa Service Centre or in the Chancery (‘The Embassy’) in the 21st floor of Petron Mega Plaza Building in Makati.
 Applicants are therefore strongly advised not to deal with any agents, and proceed to the Visa Service Centre for advice.


‘Showmoney’
Sometimes, Agents have assisted the applicants with ‘show money’ (typically for Jobseeker Permits), etc and promised the applicants that there is a job waiting for them in Norway, a place to live and a good salary. When the applicants arrive in Norway, there is no job, nowhere to live and no money.
 Norway is an expensive country and the situation can quickly get desperate. Many applicants have had to return to the Philippines, with huge debts.


‘Guaranteed approval’ / ‘Guaranteed Processing time’
Other Agents promise ‘guaranteed approval’, ‘guaranteed processing times’, etc. Sadly, many applicants pay these agents and get nothing in return. The Embassy requires personal appearance for submission of documents. It is not possible for agents or ‘representatives’ to submit applications on behalf of applicants.


Doing it right
There is a lot of opportunities in Norway, and if done correctly, it could be a win-win situation for both the applicants and the employers in Norway.
 Very often, there are alternatives available, and ways of doing things legally, without using agents or purchasing fake / forged documents. The Embassy has highly skilled employees that can give advice about a number of different Visas and Residence Permits to Norway, Denmark and Iceland. Any issue or problem can be discussed at the Embassy.


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