Immigration New Zealand uncovers fraud in student visa applications
11 July 2012
Immigration fraud has been uncovered through routine random sampling of student visa applications through Immigration New Zealand’s (INZ) Beijing branch.
The Head of Immigration, Steve Stuart, says the fraud targeted student visas and consisted predominantly of fake qualifications and falsified bank statements.
Mr Stuart says 279 applications have been confirmed to contain some form of fraud. A total of 231 people who fraudulently obtained a visa are presently in New Zealand. The other 48 people have either already left New Zealand or have not yet travelled here and will be prevented from doing so.
“Of the 231 individuals who are in New Zealand 60 are unlawful as their visas have expired and they are liable for deportation,” he says. “The remaining 171 are on valid visas and they may become liable for deportation depending on their individual circumstances.”
An operation has begun today to contact and interview the people implicated in the fraudulent activity. This investigation is likely to take several weeks. Each case will be considered on its merits but those implicated are liable to be served Deportation Orders if unlawful or served Deportation liability Notices if on a valid visa.
Mr Stuart is urging anyone in this situation to contact Immigration New Zealand on 0508 558 855 to discuss their individual circumstances. “It’s important to note that, as opposed to anyone who departs voluntarily, anyone who is deported is unable to return to New Zealand for five years,” Mr Stuart says.
A total of 20 education providers – all in the Auckland area – have been identified as having enrolled people implicated in the fraud.
“There is no evidence that any of the education providers have been involved in the fraud,” Mr Stuart says. “Our investigations are continuing but at this stage it appears that two agents in China have facilitated these fraudulent applications.”
Mr Stuart says that maintaining the integrity of New Zealand’s immigration system is of paramount importance and this type of visa fraud is taken very seriously.