Claim: A viral WhatsApp message claims that the Australian government has announced visa sponsorship and jobs in Australia for 2023.
Verdict: False! Checks on the Australia immigration office website provide a different process for visa and job applications in Australia.
A viral WhatsApp message claims that the government of Australia is offering visa sponsorship and jobs in 2023.
The message, as expected from many parts of the global south, was mandated to be shared with five groups or 15 friends on WhatsApp, after which applicants will be redirected automatically to the visa form, which the website stated would be followed by a confirmation code within 24 hours.
DUBAWA completed the sharing process to access the visa form and verify its truthfulness. After the share column reaches 100%, a print form automatically pops up, sharing the same link with the share options.
Clicking on the print form showed up without a specific link. However, it brought Premier Bet Register and later a page accepting applications to offer temporary permits for caregivers in Canada, not the visa form as previously stated.
The content in the WhatsApp message further reads as follows: “The government is also looking for Nationals and International applicants who can fill the Shortage of jobs in Australia. Australian Public services are giving out thousands of jobs.”
The message, however, ends with a link that, when clicked, takes applicants to an application form asking for personal information.
The website was analysed on Scamdoc, which showed a “1% very bad trust index.” The domain is seen to have been created in Canada, while the creation date is seen to have been in 2022, while the expiration date is in 2024.
However, though ScamDoc site publishers do not influence the rating of a specific domain or URL, the URL in the WhatsApp message directs users to a page where they are asked to provide personal details like names, email, and country of origin, among others.
A check of the website shows that the Uniform Resource Locator (URL), which shows the address of a given resource on the world wide web, does not have the .gov.au domain which is used by the official website of the Australian Government Department of Employment and Workplace Relations dewr.gov.au.
The Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s official website, dfat.gov.au, also carries the .gov.au that the typical Australian government website – unlike the website of the viral WhatsApp message- carries.
Further checks on the immigration and home affairs section of the Australian government website spell out the conditions under which a visa and jobs can be offered, and those procedures are completely different from the ones being shared in the viral message.
DUBAWA also discovered that the site has an additional ‘Secure Sockets Layer’ (SSL certificate) which enables it to carry https to convince users that it is credible. But according to WebTitan, HTTPS or an SSL certificate alone is not a guarantee that the website is secure and can be trusted.
Additional checks show that “ly” is the Internet country code top-level domain (ccTLD) for the Libyan government and not the Australian government.
According to Marcaria.com Network, Domain Registration in Australia, to register a website in Australia, one will have to “enter the .COM.AU” and/or “.NET.AU” domain name(s) assigned to the country and not bit.ly.
Checks on the Australia Immigration website, including a website verification process of the viral message, show that the claims made in the viral message are false.
The researcher produced this fact-check per the DUBAWA 2023 Kwame KariKari Fellowship in partnership with The Stage Media – Liberia to facilitate the ethos of “truth” in journalism and enhance media literacy in the country.