14 youngsters duped by travel agent

The next time you look up a specious contact number of an immigration agent on a search engine, you might unwittingly land in the clutches of immigration fraudsters.

14 youngsters, who were in Dubai after their employers shut shop suddenly, landed at the airport here. Most of them are from Punjab region. They all thanked Sarbat Da Bhala Charitable Trust chairperson SPS Oberoi for organizing their return and reuniting them with their families in Punjab. They say SPS Oberoi arranged the requisite documents and paid air fare for all of them.

They further explained that they fell victim to travel agents, who had built a circle of fake promises. They further added that the agents had charged hefty amount for attaining a job in a Dubai-based firm. Three weeks ago, the firm owner, a Pakistani national, closed down his firm and fled to his native place, leaving behind the fate of Indian youths in doldrums.

They added that they shouldn’t have gone abroad and they all are happy to be back home. One among them, Amandeep Singh, a resident of Hoshiarpur, said he paid Rs1.7 lakh to a travel agent for the visa.

“I purchased my air ticket when the immigration agent promised me a particular job with a security firm there. I landed in Dubai on the month of January 19 and worked in the firm for some days. Suddenly, the firm was shut down. I, along with others like me who had paid huge amount to travel agents, was left jobless,” he added.

Vikran Joshi a resident of Una has a similar story to explain. “I had paid Rs1.65 lakh to a Nangal-based travel agent to get the Dubai visa. Like me, there were three other youth from Una. Each of us paid Rs1.65 lakh to Rs2 lakh to him, he promised us a job with a salary of Rs2 lakh per month. We then landed in the country Dubai on January 6 and worked for one-and-a-half months over there. The firm owner shut shop without even making a payment,” he said.

They approached a gurdwara for shelter after losing job and having no money to buy food. One among them got the contact number of SPS Oberoi, a businessman, asking for their help.

Oberoi then mark a statement to The Tribune that 29 Indian youths were tricked by travel agents. 18 were from Punjab, six from Haryana, four from Himachal and one from Delhi.

“They dialed the number twice, but the calls were not answered. Then they remain empty handed with a regretful expression on the face. They lost all the financial support just because of one unaware decision made by the them with the support of all their family members. So, to avoid such situation one should be fully aware about the whole aspects of the situation. In such cases visamonthly.com plays a vital role as it helps people to stay updated and acts as an industry publication for immigration industry of Punjab.” said by one of the official

“I truly appeal to the government to ensure that a list of registered agents is showcased at every airport. Parents, too, need to be very careful before paying huge amount to travel agents, who claim to send their children abroad,” he further said.