visabureau.com > blogs > official blog

News, commentary & perspective from Visa Bureau

Australia and New Zealand to jointly manage panel doctors

by Dominic 08/05/2013 13:06:00

 

New Zealand and Australia will
jointly manage panel doctors for
visa applicants.

Immigration New Zealand (INZ) and the Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) have agreed to jointly manage the team of overseas doctors used to assess New Zealand and Australian visa applicants' health.

As part of a visa application for both Australia and New Zealand, applicants are typically required to meet certain health criteria to ensure they do not pose a significant risk to either country's healthcare systems.

In order to meet these criteria, applicants are required to undertake a medical exam with a 'panel doctor' - a doctor approved by either INZ or DIAC.

However, now the list of doctors will be greatly expanded as panel doctors for either country will be jointly managed, meaning they can approve patients applying to move to Australia or New Zealand.

A joint statement issued INZ head Nigel Bickle and DIAC secretary Martin Bowles said the move was intended to improve customer service and communication between the two countries.

It is also hoped better levels of participation between the two countries will help to detect and limit the spread of diseases such as tuberculosis.

Leonie Cotton, casework manager at the Australian Visa Bureau, said the move should mean visa applicants for either country will have greater access to panel doctors.

"Getting an appointment with a panel-certified doctor can be a tricky part of the application process, given the relatively small number of them," said Ms Cotton.

"Combining both Australia and New Zealand's resources however should help to expedite the process and ensure more visa applicants progress through their applications quicker."


- Dominic Ladden-Powell is the Online Editor for the Australian Visa Bureau and the New Zealand Visa Bureau.

Visa Bureau takes no responsibility and cannot be held accountable for action taken as a result of any information or comment provided on this blog, and we recommend that you always seek a number of opinions before making a decision regarding your migration or visa application. Please refer to the Visa Bureau terms of use for more information.

Kidnapped explorer returns to New Zealand

by Dominic 15/11/2012 14:41:00

Kiwi Busby Nobel accidentally
ended up travelling to one of the
most dangeorous places on Earth

Earlier this year we covered the story of a Kiwi man apparently accidently abducted by the notoriously reckless Norwegian explorer Jarle Andhoy on his way to the Antarctic.

Back in January, Jarle Andhoy, famed for his ill equipped and overly ambitious treks to some of the most uninhabitable places on Earth, was about to embark on his latest trip to the Antarctic. However, when government officials discovered Andhoy had recently been deported from Canada, they cancelled the Norwegian national's New Zealand visa.

On hearing New Zealand immigration officials were on their way, Andhoy rushed to the harbour and set off out on his exhibition early, clearly thinking he had escaped punishment. However, it transpired 52-year-old yacht mechanic and local resident Busby Noble was still on board.

Andhoy, already known to the authorities for his blatant disregard for international laws, was monitored even more closely when it transpired a New Zealander with no proper winter clothing was on board and heading for the South Pole.

New Zealand Foreign Minister Murray McCully said at the time "the Southern Ocean is one of the most remote and inhospitable areas in the world. New Zealand government agencies are obviously concerned".

However, Andhoy insisted that having the Kiwi on board was "a somewhat tricky situation" but that "everything is on schedule and the atmosphere is good on board" and that he planned to continue his trek.

Ten months on following a turbulent trip around the Southern Ocean and a visit to Antarctica, Mr Noble returned to Norway with Andhoy to become an overnight celebrity. Eventually even Mr Noble's partner TP Teiho flew to be with him as he appeared on chat shows and gave interviews about the ad hoc adventure.

Mr Noble has since returned to New Zealand this week and, despite saying he 'expected a grilling' from New Zealand immigration authorities, wrote on his Facebook page 'Home again! Safe and sound. Aotearoa.' having apparently passed through Immigration New Zealand checks without a problem.

While Mr Noble did not state whether he planned for any more immediate adventures, it's likely he's just glad to be home.


- Dominic Ladden-Powell is the Online Editor for the New Zealand Visa Bureau.

Visa Bureau takes no responsibility and cannot be held accountable for action taken as a result of any information or comment provided on this blog, and we recommend that you always seek a number of opinions before making a decision regarding your migration or visa application. Please refer to the Visa Bureau terms of use for more information.

Record fine for New Zealand visa cheat reveals need for migration agent research

by Dominic 12/10/2012 13:24:00

Choosing a New Zealand
immigration adviser should not
be a quick process.

An unscrupulous New Zealand-based immigration adviser has been handed a record fine this week, highlighting the need for prospective migrants to find certified and trustworthy assistance.

The New Zealand Immigration Advisers Complains and Disciplinary Tribunal this week upheld 19 complaints against Glen William Standing and ordered him to pay out almost NZ$300,000 (£153,000) in refunds, the highest penalty ever handed out.

Standing was reportedly involved in a scheme of 'systematic dishonesty' which included charging 'excessive' fees to clients, falsely guaranteeing to secure them permanent New Zealand residency and even threatening clients with prosecution if they did not secure a New Zealand visa.

The Golden Bay-based adviser has maintained his innocence throughout the tribunal but his company, Living New Zealand Ltd, has been struck off the Companies Office register.

The Immigration Advisers Authority said Standing advertised his services for prices ranging between NZ$3,000 and NZ$4,000 (£1,500 and £2,000) but in reality was charging clients as much as NZ$8,000 (£4,000).

One of Standing's clients, a Japanese woman, reportedly resigned from her job in Osaka, cancelled her tenancy agreement and even started having a home in New Zealand built. Only for her to be held at the border and told she was attempting to enter the country illegally.

Barry Smedts, authority registrar of immigration advisers, said he was 'appalled at the shameless deceit perpetrated by Glen Standing'.

Jenny Espiner, casework manager at the New Zealand Visa Bureau, says thoroughly researching any organisation or company before entering into any contracts or handing money over.

"It's unlikely that the average person's level of knowledge about complex immigration processes and requirements extends beyond the fact that it is complex," said Ms Espiner.

"Therefore it's very easy to be misinformed and, ultimately scammed of thousands of pounds.

"Any genuine New Zealand immigration adviser should be registered with the New Zealand Immigration Advisers Authority (IAA) and adhere to the IAA's Code of Conduct.

"Make sure any adviser you are considering is IAA registered and then double check this against online reviews on sites such as migrationagentreviews.com.

"Moving to New Zealand should be a great, exciting process, don't risking ruining it and losing lots of money by putting your trust in the wrong place."


- Dominic Ladden-Powell is the Online Editor for the New Zealand Visa Bureau.

Visa Bureau takes no responsibility and cannot be held accountable for action taken as a result of any information or comment provided on this blog, and we recommend that you always seek a number of opinions before making a decision regarding your migration or visa application. Please refer to the Visa Bureau terms of use for more information.

Tyson granted New Zealand visa

by Dominic 27/09/2012 15:23:00

Mike Tyson will now be allowed to
speak in Auckland in November.

Former boxing champion Mike Tyson has finally been granted a New Zealand visa after his trip to the country was thrown into doubt due to a criminal charge dating back to the early 1990s.

Tyson is due to speak as a motivational speaker at an event in Auckland in November but whether he would be able to attend looked unlikely due to a 1992 charge for rape.

Current New Zealand visa policy stipulates that anyone who has served more than five years in prison excludes them from obtaining a visa; Tyson was sentenced to six years in prison for the 1992 rape of Desiree Washington but he only served three years of his sentence.

Upon his release Tyson went on to capture many of boxing's best records but his career was marred by further incidents, including the infamous biting of Evander Holyfield's ear. The former world heavyweight champion's career came to a disappointing end in 2005, leaving Tyson bankrupt and struggling with drug dependencies.

However, since then the former prize-fighter has turned his life around and now performs a critically acclaimed motivational show which he was hoping to bring to Australia and New Zealand this year.

Tyson's criminal conviction originally placed his trip in doubt but the company promoting Mike Tyson's Day of the Champions at the Vector Arena in November, Markson Sparks, has confirmed Tyson will be granted a New Zealand visa.

"Mike Tyson, youngest ever world heavy weight boxing champion and star of The Hangover movies has been granted a visa to visit New Zealand," read a statement from the promotions company.


- Dominic Ladden-Powell is the Online Editor for the New Zealand Visa Bureau.

Visa Bureau takes no responsibility and cannot be held accountable for action taken as a result of any information or comment provided on this blog, and we recommend that you always seek a number of opinions before making a decision regarding your migration or visa application. Please refer to the Visa Bureau terms of use for more information.

Russell Brand now in New Zealand visa doubt

by Dominic 14/09/2012 11:31:00

Comedian Russell Brand
could be prevented from
entering New Zealand.

Comedian Russell Brand has become the latest celebrity to face uncertainty over whether he will be granted a New Zealand visa due to past criminal convictions.

Brand is supposed to be performing a one off show at Auckland's Vector Arena in November but due to past drug convictions, doubts have been raised as to whether he will receive a New Zealand visa.

The controversial comedian had a much publicised battle with drug addiction in his early rise to fame but has since advocated the use of abstinence-led drug rehabilitation program as a combatant to drug and alcohol dependencies.

Brand has appeared on several TV and radio programs detailing his struggle with substance abuse and even addressed Parliament's Home Affairs Select Committee on the topic earlier this year.

However, during his own time as a self confessed addict, Brand was arrested several times and it is these convictions that have hindered his travel arrangements in the past.

Brand was deported from Japan last year for the same reason when he tried to visit his then-wife Katy Perry during her international tour.

And while British citizens typically do not require a visa to enter New Zealand, Brand's history could jeopardise his performance.

"Russell Brand will have to apply for a visa to enter New Zealand and make full disclosure of his previous convictions," said an Immigration New Zealand (INZ) spokesperson.

"There is never a guarantee that any visa application will be approved."

Brand follows hot on the heels of former heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson who also faces the prospect of cancelling an already scheduled performance in New Zealand. Tyson's 1991 conviction for rape has threatened the former prize-fighter’s trip.

A decision on both cases is still to be made.

Visa Bureau takes no responsibility and cannot be held accountable for action taken as a result of any information or comment provided on this blog, and we recommend that you always seek a number of opinions before making a decision regarding your migration or visa application. Please refer to the Visa Bureau terms of use for more information.

Tyson hits back at New Zealand visa speculation

by Dominic 30/08/2012 11:29:00

Mike Tyson answered his critics
a little more directly this time.

Former heavyweight boxer Mike Tyson has hit back at speculation he may be refused a New Zealand visa.

The 46 year old former prize-fighter is due to speak in Australia and New Zealand in November as part of his 'Day of the Champions' motivational speaking tour. However, the NZ leg of his trip was put in jeopardy yesterday when doubt arose that Tyson would be approved a New Zealand visa.

New Zealand immigration law stipulates that anyone sentenced to five years imprisonment or more is ineligible for an NZ visa; Tyson was sentenced to six years in prison for rape in 1992 although he was released after serving three.

Immigration New Zealand yesterday said Tyson's application would be processed like any other, suggesting his hugely public profile and controversial reputation wouldn't play a part in the decision.

Tyson originally remained optimistic about his chances of reaching New Zealand, saying he was 'so excited to be visiting' and 'looking forward to meeting' his fans.

However, the former undisputed heavyweight champion didn't forge a reputation as 'the baddest man on the planet' for nothing and his attitude towards the trip has soured since.

"I'm not going to sit here and cower and beg to come to your country," said Tyson in a teleconference from Las Vegas to Auckland.

"I'm sorry but if I can't come, I can't come. It will be my misfortune but I don't want to feel like I'm on trial to come to your country.

"I haven't been to New Zealand, man it must be a serious country if I can't go there."

Tyson's promoter, Max Markson, who appeared in the teleconference alongside the ex-fighter, said they were appealing to 'the minister' - presumably Immigration Minister Nathan Guy - over the case.

"We've applied for the visa and asked for special discretion from the minister, so we're waiting for patiently for a visa," said Mr Markson.

Mr Markson said Tyson, who has since turned his life around since struggling with drug dependencies and going bankrupt in 2003, should be allowed to visit New Zealand.

"[Tyson is] a great ambassador and he really does have a tremendous story which he has to tell the people of New Zealand and it would be a tragedy if the show that he's been doing on Broadway for the last few weeks can't be told."

Visa Bureau takes no responsibility and cannot be held accountable for action taken as a result of any information or comment provided on this blog, and we recommend that you always seek a number of opinions before making a decision regarding your migration or visa application. Please refer to the Visa Bureau terms of use for more information.

Mike Tyson to be denied New Zealand visa?

by Dominic 29/08/2012 11:55:00

The former undisputed
heavyweight  champion of the
world is now a motivational
speaker.

Former heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson is due to speak at an event in Auckland in November but could be denied a New Zealand visa due to his 1992 conviction for rape.

The former undisputed heavyweight champion of the world, now 46, is due to embark on a tour of Australia and New Zealand giving motivational talks but his New Zealand leg of the tour has been thrown into doubt after New Zealand immigration officials.

Tyson was imprisoned at the height of his boxing career for the 1991 rape of Desiree Washington, the then-Miss Black Rhode Island, in an Indianapolis hotel room. Tyson was sentenced to six years in prison, he was paroled after three.

New Zealand immigration law currently stipulates that anyone who has served a prison term of five years or more is ineligible for a visa.

However, as Tyson only served three years and is a public figure who has turned his life around since his much publicised bankruptcy in 2003 and drug dependency problems, Immigration New Zealand (INZ) have refused to categorically state whether his visa application will be denied.

"Mike Tyson will have to apply for a visa to enter New Zealand and make full disclosure of his previous convictions," read an INZ statement.

"There is never a guarantee that any visa application will be approved. All visa applications are considered on their individual circumstances.

"The Immigration Act 2009 allows for discretion to be exercised in certain cases."

Tyson is expected to be joined on his tour by fellow motivational speakers Willey Jolley, Stephen Young and Loral Langmeier.

The former boxer, who still holds the record for youngest boxer to win the WBC, WBA and TBF heavyweight titles, which he did at just 20 years old and retired with a record of 50 wins in 58 fights with 44 knockouts, expressed his excitement and travelling to New Zealand and Australia.

"I'm so excited to be visiting Australia and New Zealand for the first time," he said in a statement.

"I have lots of friends there and look forward to meeting all my fans."


- Dominic Ladden-Powell is the Online Editor for the New Zealand Visa Bureau.

Visa Bureau takes no responsibility and cannot be held accountable for action taken as a result of any information or comment provided on this blog, and we recommend that you always seek a number of opinions before making a decision regarding your migration or visa application. Please refer to the Visa Bureau terms of use for more information.

New Zealand Immigration Update - 01 August, 2012

by Dominic 01/08/2012 11:23:00
Christchurch set to benefit from New Zealand immigration

As Christchurch continues its recovery from the earthquake which devastated the city and cost 185 people their lives, New Zealand immigration looks set to propel the country's second largest city to its most ethnically diverse...read more.

New Zealand visa reprieve for Tongan testimony

Victims of New Zealand visa scam targeted at Tongans living illegally in the country have been urged to come forward to help prosecute the scams' perpetrators...read more.

New Zealand immigration makes Auckland cultural diversity capital

A recent New Zealand immigration study revealed that as many as two in five residents in Auckland were born overseas, making the country's largest city one of the most multicultural cities in the world...read more.




Christchurch set to benefit from New Zealand immigration

Christchurch looks set to
prosper thanks to New
Zealand immigration.

As Christchurch continues its recovery from the earthquake which devastated the city and cost 185 people their lives, New Zealand immigration looks set to propel the country's second largest city to its most ethnically diverse.

A significant proportion left the city following the events of February 2011 but slowly and surely people have begun to return. And in order to make up for those that have left, New Zealand immigration has supplied scores of construction workers to assist with the rebuild operation, and many of them will be looking to stay as the operation finishes in the next 18 months.

Auckland, currently the largest and most diverse city in New Zealand, has a population of 1.5 million, 40% of which were born overseas. While Christchurch's population is made up of just 20% foreign-born residents, below the national average of 23%; studies predict that is about to change.

"The proportion of ethnic groups in the city will rise quite rapidly and quite fast," said Professor Paul Spoonley of Massey University. "It's going to change the cultural mix and transform the community."

An estimated 26,000 construction workers are set to arrive in Christchurch over the next 18 months, along with another 12,000 strong secondary wave of shop owners, restaurants etc.

Professor Spoonley said Christchurch might not be prepared for such a change but would need to welcome new arrivals to ensure the successful revival of the city.

"Christchurch is going to need to rebuild in a social sense as well as a physical sense. You need champions for the rebuild, you need champions for worker recruitment and I think you will need champions for making Christchurch a welcoming city.

"The people of Christchurch have got to understand that there are going to be very different faces on the streets soon. It's going to be a very different city in a few years and it is important they adjust to that."

back to the top




New Zealand visa reprieve for Tongan testimony

Tongans have been assured they
won't face deportation if they
help authorities catch the
scams' perpetrators.

Victims of New Zealand visa scam targeted at Tongans living illegally in the country have been urged to come forward to help prosecute the scams' perpetrators.

Reports of unscrupulous or sham immigration advisers purportedly offering to obtain a New Zealand visa for Tongan citizens living illegally in New Zealand are rife but authorities have struggled to gain assistance from victims through fear of being deported.

Immigration scams targeting vulnerable people are common around the world as illegal residents are typically desperate for a route to legal residency or citizenship yet are reluctant to go to the authorities once they have been scammed through fear of being deported.

In order to help tackle such schemes, New Zealand immigration authorities have promised not to take action on any Tongans who come forward with information about the schemes regardless of their immigration status.

"We actually got an assurance from the investigating police detective and also immigration department that those people who were victims of this scam would be able to come in and puck up their passports without any recourse in regard to their situation of being an overstayer," said Will Ilolahia, a New Zealand-Tonga community activist.

"We're trying to encourage our people that by being straight up with this that might help them in their own situation.

"Every community has their crooks but for me this is just not on. It's preying on the desperation of these people who are just trying to get a good life."

back to the top




New Zealand immigration makes Auckland cultural diversity capital

Auckland is one of the most
culturally diverse cities in the
world.

A recent New Zealand immigration study revealed that as many as two in five residents in Auckland were born overseas, making the country's largest city one of the most multicultural cities in the world.

The report places Auckland alongside other major world cities such as New York City, London and Toronto as welcoming to people of all nationalities and will be extremely beneficial to New Zealand's international reputation.

As the world's most isolated country, New Zealand immigration did little for the country's population and diversity; government policy typically placed higher preference on people of British or Dutch origin which resulted in a predominantly West European and Maori population.

However, in the past two decades, New Zealand visa and immigration policy has become much more welcoming to people of all nationalities and the country's cities now present a much more varied and diverse face to the world.

The national average of 23% foreign born is relatively high compared to the rest of the world but Auckland's 40% average makes it a genuine world leader in diversity and as other major world cities with broad ethnic spectrums have shown, a multicultural population fuels a city's influence on culture, industry and politics.

back to the top


- Dominic Ladden-Powell is the Online Editor for the New Zealand Visa Bureau.

Visa Bureau takes no responsibility and cannot be held accountable for action taken as a result of any information or comment provided on this blog, and we recommend that you always seek a number of opinions before making a decision regarding your migration or visa application. Please refer to the Visa Bureau terms of use for more information.

New Zealand Immigration Update - 25 July, 2012

by Dominic 25/07/2012 10:19:00
Refugee organisation joins critics of New Zealand immigration law

Refugees as Survivors Organisation has joined the growing number of concerned voices against the government's controversial New Zealand immigration plan to tackle asylum seekers...read more.

New Zealand visa relaxations blamed for Chinese fraud

A staff member at Immigration New Zealand's Beijing office has said relaxations to New Zealand visa rules were to blame for a scam which saw almost 300 students receive fraudulent visas...read more.

New Zealand immigration minister forced to deny corruption claims

Immigration Minister Nathan Guy has dismissed claims that New Zealand visa applications from foreign fishing crews had been processed improperly...read more.




Refugee organisation joins critics of New Zealand immigration law

Critics say New Zealand's
immigration law is not
necessary.
 

Refugees as Survivors Organisation has joined the growing number of concerned voices against the government's controversial New Zealand immigration plan to tackle asylum seekers.

Wellington has been taking steps to prepare for a mass arrival of asylum seekers, even going so far as to simulate a mass arrival in Auckland with over a hundred actors taking part. However, it is been the proposal of a New Zealand immigration law which has attracted the most criticism.

The government's Immigration Amendment Bill, which is currently making its way through the parliament, grants immigration authorities the power to detain a 'mass' arrival, defined as 11 people or more, under a single warrant for up to six months.

Criticism for the measures has been condemning and frequent as no asylum seeking boat has ever made it to New Zealand and the country has been able to operate an oft praised refugee programme. Critics maintain therefore that the measure is cruel and unnecessary.

Gary Poole, chief executive of the Refugees as Survivors Organisation, has addressed a parliamentary committee currently reviewing the law.

Mr Poole told the Transport and Industrial Relations Committee that the country's immigration policy already permitted the detention of asylum seekers while Mr Poole's deputy, former cabinet minister Aussie Malcolm, said detention centres were very expensive and created mental health issues among detainees.

back to the top




New Zealand visa relaxations blamed for Chinese fraud

Almost 300 Chinese students were
found to have obtained a fake
New Zealand visa.

A staff member at Immigration New Zealand's Beijing office has said relaxations to New Zealand visa rules were to blame for a scam which saw almost 300 students receive fraudulent visas.

An investigation into possible fraud identified 279 Chinese students, many still in the country at the time, who had inaccuracies in their New Zealand visa applications.

Since then, New Zealand immigration authorities have apprehended more than 40 of the students, including five who are being prepared for deportation proceedings while a further 30 remain liable for deportation.

Authorities have provided 172 of the Chinese students whose fraudulent visas remain current with a new, valid visa but the scandal is unlikely to die down.

Several politicians have called for an inquiry into how the fraud managed to continue so unabated but one staff member at Beijing INZ said they had been ordered to 'go easy' on applications.

"Our orders have been to go easy on students applications because we have to keep up the numbers," said the staff member, who asked not to be named when speaking to the New Zealand Herald.

"This was so that New Zealand can double the amount they earn from foreign students.

"New Zealand became a magnet for agents wanting to put through fraudulent students because they know we have stopped checking if supporting documents are fake."

back to the top




New Zealand immigration minister forced to deny corruption claims

Immigration Minister
Nathan Guy.
 

Immigration Minister Nathan Guy has dismissed claims that New Zealand visa applications from foreign fishing crews had been processed improperly.

In an anonymous letter from a 'concerned' staff member at Immigration New Zealand (INZ), allegations were made that the Christchurch branch of INZ had ignored claims of employee abuse and poor rates of pay by failing to carry out the proper audits on fishing companies which had received at least one New Zealand visa.

The letter claimed more than 500 visas had been granted in the past two years yet no audits had taken place, despite being required to by New Zealand immigration law and several complaints that foreign staff members onboard fishing ships had reported being mistreated and not paid.

"Immigration NZ Christchurch branch undertakes this work. However, no such audits have ever taken place despite the fact that the department has been well aware of these issues."

Immigration Minister Nathan Guy has brushed off the claims, saying the 'widespread corruption' the anonymous letter alluded to is rubbish, although Mr Guy admitted he is yet to read the letter.

back to the top



- Dominic Ladden-Powell is the Online Editor for the New Zealand Visa Bureau.

Visa Bureau takes no responsibility and cannot be held accountable for action taken as a result of any information or comment provided on this blog, and we recommend that you always seek a number of opinions before making a decision regarding your migration or visa application. Please refer to the Visa Bureau terms of use for more information.

New Zealand Immigration Update - 18 July, 2012

by Dominic 18/07/2012 10:25:00
Immigration New Zealand's woes have continued for another week this week with yet more scandals and allegations surfacing.

Fresh off the back of scandals targeting Tongan citizens and asylum seeker measurse which have have been widely criticised as cruel, expensive and above all unnecessary, New Zealand's conservative National government are struggling for good news to focus on.

Despite easing the work restrictions for foreign workers on ski resorts to obtain a New Zealand visa last week, the news was quickly overshadowed by the unearthing of a major visa scam originating in the Beijing visa office.

And unfortunately for the government, this week has been no different with progress on the Chinese visa scam quickly deflated by fresh accusations regarding New Zealand immigration staff:

Arrests made in New Zealand visa probe

New Zealand immigration officials have confirmed that five Chinese nationals have been arrested and detained for their part in a New Zealand visa scam which was uncovered last week...read more.

New Zealand immigration staff accused of abusing client data

Over 50 Immigration New Zealand (INZ) staff have been accused of accessing confidential client information without permission since 2004...read more.




Arrests made in New Zealand visa probe

So far 36 people have been 
detained with five being 
prepared for deportation to China.
 

New Zealand immigration officials have confirmed that five Chinese nationals have been arrested and detained for their part in a New Zealand visa scam which was uncovered last week.

A routine investigation at the Immigration New Zealand (INZ) office in Beijing last week unearthed almost 300 international students who had either entered the country, or applied to enter the country, on a falsified New Zealand visa.

While it was unclear how many of the 279 remained in the country, INZ began searching for as many as possible immediately.

So far, 36 have been detained with five being prepared for deportation; INZ suspect as many as 246, including 74 who have overstayed their visas, could be liable for deportation.

Of the number detained, eight were found to be working in a vineyard, confirming the suspicion that the visas were falsified so Chinese nationals could pose as students to find work and also putting the employer at risk of prosecution for hiring illegal immigrants.

"We will be investigating any employer implicated in employing student visa holders not entitled to work and will take legal action if appropriate," said INZ General Manager Peter Elms. 

back to the top




New Zealand immigration staff accused of abusing client data

There are allegations that
Immigration New Zealand staff
inappropriately discussed client
details.

Over 50 Immigration New Zealand (INZ) staff have been accused of accessing confidential client information without permission since 2004.

A total of 51 staff have been implicated in an internal investigation into New Zealand immigration processes in the past nine years, in a practice one complainant, who accused his ex-wife of accessing his details, said was rife.

"When we were still together, I used to accompany her to immigration functions, where one of the most frequent things they talked about was new information they have found in client files," said the complainant.

"Privacy breaches have been going on for years and what we're seeing is that nothing's changed."

The latest investigation is just the most recent in a line of scandals concerning INZ, who have claimed the 51 staff members represent a rare occurrence.

"It's a very small group of people who, on occasion, breach our guidelines," said INZ head Steve Stuart.

"But where we find evidence of inappropriate use of any of our official information, we move on this quickly, both to protect the integrity of the information we hold in trust and the reputation of our people and organisation."

INZ said disciplinary actions taken include formal warnings, counselling and even dismissal yet records uncovered by the New Zealand Herald showed that the majority of actions taken consisted of mere warnings while one staff member who was accused of improperly accessed client files resigned and took a job at the Ministry of Justice, where she was accused of the same breach of trust. 

back to the top



- Dominic Ladden-Powell is the Online Editor for the New Zealand Visa Bureau.

Visa Bureau takes no responsibility and cannot be held accountable for action taken as a result of any information or comment provided on this blog, and we recommend that you always seek a number of opinions before making a decision regarding your migration or visa application. Please refer to the Visa Bureau terms of use for more information.