New Zealand’s visa fraud probe widens
August 3, 2012
As part of its continuing investigation into student visa fraud, Immigration New Zealand (INZ) has uncovered a further 17 Chinese students that obtained visas fraudulently, and has also started investigating some of the private training establishments in Auckland that accepted the students.
As previously reported, 279 applications processed via the Beijing branch of Immigration New Zealand during a routine investigation were found to be fraudulent. A further 44 cases were considered suspicious, and after site visits it was confirmed that 17 of these were also fraudulent.
At the time of writing, INZ had confirmed that 35 students have been found and served with deportation notices, five of which have already been deported and a further two left voluntarily. Some of the students were found working on a vineyard in Blenheim, despite being enrolled on courses in Auckland.
INZ has also said that it is investigating some of the 23 private institutions in Auckland where the students were thought to be enrolled. At least two were believed to have problems with non-attendance, non-enrolment and documentation. INZ Head Steve Stuart said, “In cases where providers are not meeting immigration or education requirements, INZ works with the New Zealand Qualifications Authority and can suspend visas.” INZ has not named the schools.
Stuart has also travelled to China to meet authorities regarding possible legal action against the agent alleged to be responsible for the fraudulent cases. Initial investigations suggested two different agents in Beijing were thought to have submitted the applications, but attention has now focussed on one agent.