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Students Beware

Education New Zealand: 21/09/04

‘Students Beware – If it’s Too Good to be True, it probably Isn’t True!’

A strong message to international students, advising them to be wary of claims made by people masquerading as immigration experts or recruitment agents was issued today by Education New Zealand, the peak body for international education.

‘Our message to international students is simple’ says Robert Stevens, Chief Executive of Education New Zealand. ‘If you are being offered a deal for qualifications, institutional placement, work permits or residency that sounds too good to be true - walk away. If it comes attached with a request for a large sum of money, then contact NZIS or the Police. In New Zealand, the rules are simple and clear. Money paid to third parties to try and flout the law is a recipe for trouble. The only way to smoke out the scam artists is to refuse to become a pawn in their criminal game.’

This warning comes in the wake of recent fraudulent rip-offs that cost a number of students a considerable sum of money. Cases include students paying tens of thousands of dollars to obtain what would have been fake visas and work permits, entrance into courses that don’t exist, and promises of entry into university, even though they lacked the appropriate language qualifications. A disturbing trend is bogus agents using the name and even letterhead of completely innocent institutions to give credibility to scams.

The New Zealand Immigration Service is currently developing regulations for immigration advice in response to Cabinet’s call for a licensing regime. This regulatory environment would cover the activities of education agents within New Zealand.

‘Education New Zealand and the bulk of industry are supportive of a simple yet robust regulatory framework around the activities of onshore agents that will protect students’ says Robert Stevens. ‘Such a framework will hopefully be introduced into Parliament early next year and it can’t come soon enough. However, it will take time to implement, and in the meantime it is very much a case of ‘buyer beware’ when it comes to dealings with agents’.

‘Fortunately, there is a very simple solution for any international student who wants to know where they stand. Go and talk to the institution that you are interested in. Once in New Zealand, you do not have to go through an agent or third party. Talk to the institution direct – and get the correct information. Chances are, it won’t cost a cent’.

‘The industry has had a gutsful of dodgy crooks pretending to be agent’s preying on international students’ says Robert Stevens. ‘Institutions have to abide by a stringent set of rules and regulations, yet outside the institutional gates, con-artists are trying to rob innocent students blind. It’s high time that these menaces to our reputation were bought to justice.

We urge all students to help rid our industry of these parasites by not going along with what are none other than criminal swindles that will cost them dearly’

ENDS

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