Get advice from legitimate migration advisors or you may end up in jail

This was the message from the Taiwanese foreign ministry to Taiwanese nationals after noting the increase in the arrests of young people from Taiwan by the Australian police.

In a single police raid last week in Brisbane, 27 Taiwanese were arrested, 25 of them were visiting the country under working holiday visas, one holding a transit visa and another a tourist visa, according to Bob Chen, Deputy Director General of the Taiwanese Foreign Ministry.

It is alleged that the Taiwanese nationals were brought to Australia on false pretences, and then held and told to work to pay back those who paid for their passage to Australia.

Mr Chen said this is not the first time that Taiwanese citizens have been arrested in Australia over alleged involvement in fraud schemes this year. A previous case was reported this August when more than a dozen Taiwanese were arrested on similar charges in Queensland.

Among the nationals arrested were the ringleaders of the scam who allegedly confiscated the R.O.C. passports of the others after “luring them into the illicit activities”, according to Chen.

“The three chief suspects are currently in custody and could face slavery charges that carry a maximum sentence of 20 years’ imprisonment,” Chen warned.

Australia is the most popular destination for Taiwanese working holiday makers with 30,000 Taiwanese youths visiting the country each year.

He warned that visitors to Australia particularly jobseekers should seek the help of legitimate advisors or risk being targeted by fraudsters and suffer severe consequences like repatriation and lengthy jail sentences.