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'My life was ruined after I applied for a sponsored visa’

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Mr Singh says a Sydney-based company hooked him to an employer who never supplied to necessary paperwork to support his visa sponsorship.

Gurpreet Singh came to Australia in 2009 as a student, along with his wife who was on a dependent visa. “After completing my studies in 2013, I applied for a 457 visa and opened a restaurant. Unfortunately, due to certain circumstances the restaurant had to be closed, and I began driving a cab to support my family.”

“I came know about Global Services that they offer job placements and don’t charge any upfront money for it. I made contact with them and was asked to come to Brisbane, where I met Jack Raskovic [sole director and shareholder of Global Skills and Business Services] at the Riparian Plaza.”

“After the meeting Jack asked me to send him my resume, assuming that if I fulfilled all the requirements, I would get a job placement, as well as a valid visa for long-term stay.”

“After reading my resume, Jack confirmed that I fulfilled the requirements and he clearly said I didn’t need to pay him any money. ”

“Soon, my visa status came up for review at the Migration Review Tribunal and I felt I had very little time to finalise things. I called Jack and ask him if things could be expedited for me.”

Read the full story of Australia's underground visa market

“Jack told me that I had a very convoluted case, that I’ll have to go offshore and apply for another visa, and all this will cost me money.”

“Initially he asked for $45,000, and after much discussion, he first reduced the figure to $40,000 and then down to $30,000. I pleaded with him to reduce the amount further and we finally settled on $25,000.”

“I agreed to give this amount, even though I would have to borrow from friends and family, just because of the MRT review coming up in a month’s time. I felt the time was running out, and I should act quickly, and begin working in a good job that would match my field of study  – that way, my previous 6-7 years in Australia wouldn’t go to waste.”

My RSMS nomination was approved in November 2015, and I asked my immigration lawyer to process everything. He told me that he had emailed my employer, but was waiting for the required documents, including the formal employment offer.But the documents didn’t come.-Gurpreet Singh

“When I handed him the $25,000,  he gave me a receipt, and followed it up with a formal contract, which promised to return the monies in full, in case my visa was not granted.”

Thereafter Gurpreet went on to apply for an RSMS visa, under the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme.”I chose my own lawyer to apply for the RSMS visa and Global Services send all the paperwork to him for processing.”

“My nomination came through from a regional sponsor, and as per the process, I would have to go India to apply from offshore, and come back to Australia on an RSMS visa, after the nomination was approved.”

“I informed the Immigration department about the specific date that  I was leaving for India, sent them a copy of the airline ticket and the details of the RSMS nomination, after which I landed in India on August 28, 2015.”

“My RSMS nomination was approved in November 2015, and I asked my immigration lawyer to process everything. He told me that he had emailed my employer, but was waiting for the required documents, including the formal employment offer.”

But the documents didn’t come.

“I contacted Jack many times on the phone and on Whatsapp. I even spoke to a lady in the Gold Coast office of Global Services. I emailed her, whatsapped her, but there was no response from anyone.”

"As per Australian law, a nomination expires automatically after six months – and that’s what happened in my case.”

“Really, that was the end of my dream, and this is why I am in India since 2015. I have wasted my money, and have wasted 6-7 years of my life, which I spent in Australia. I really wish I had stayed back in Australia – I would have earned better qualifications and would have had a much better life.”

Text message
A text message exchange between Gurpreet Singh and Jack Raskovic.
Supplied

“I got one message from Jack after all this happened, and I still have it saved on my phone, that he would try to find me a new employer. I never heard from him after that, and found out later that his company had gone bankrupt.”

"I feel shattered since all of this happened  - even my wife and daughter are very upset.”

“Financially, it’s a huge setback. I have to return all the money I borrowed from friends and relatives to pay Jack $25,000.”

"In fact, it was a double whammy for me, because I kept my house operational when I left in 2015. I left all the furniture, appliances, household goods, fridge, washing machine etc in there, and I continued to pay the rent for six months, because we thought we would be back soon.”

"So I have lost all of that money as well, just because of Global Services.”

Going back to Australia is now going to be impossible. I can’t spend any more money on lawyers again to file another nomination. It's too big a risk – I have a family to provide for, a daughter to educate.

"Going back to Australia is now going to be impossible. I can’t spend any more money on lawyers again to file another nomination. It's too big a risk – I have a family to provide for, a daughter to educate.”

“My life has been completely ruined by Global Services, and I know I’m not alone. Many others have faced this as well.”

'All I want is, for the money to be refunded to me."

“My message to everyone in Australia is – please don’t go through any recruitment agencies like Global Services. Complete your studies, get your skills assessed and only then apply for a visa in a genuine way.”

“Everything I’ve said is absolutely true – I’m only sharing my experiences so that no one else is caught up in the vicious web like I was. I’ve lost all the money I earned in Australia and now I’m sitting here in India. Let this be a warning to others."

This interview was sourced and enabled by SBS Punjabi's Preetinder Singh Grewal.

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