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