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Immigration Agent Skips NZ After Stealing $500k

Christchurch Immigration Agent skips NZ after stealing half a million dollars from Chinese students


The NZ Mirror - The Nation’s Chinese Newspaper

A Christchurch based Immigration Agent ''South of the Equator'' in the suburb of Riccarton has skipped the country after stealing half a million dollars from 20-23 Chinese students who paid the agent to apply for fake work permits and visas.

One student Miss Tang said "one of my friends paid more than $10,000 and another one paid more than $20,000, but they didn't get their work permits or visas at all after the owner runs off". She was going to pay this agent herself, $19,000 for a one year work visa but luckily was stopped by her boyfriend at the last minute.

A victim said "the owner charges about $18,000 for a work permit or visa and about $40,000-$50,000 for a job offer under the skilled migration category for residency.

In Auckland a fortnight ago, another education agent “Li Tian International” stole $150,000 from students who had paid application fees to apply to Auckland University without IELTS. The scam involved the agent telling the student they could get around the system because of a recommendation letter they could get from a professor at the university. The university has denied these claims.

New Zealand Immigration Services spokesperson Michelle Williams said to New Zealand Mirror that most immigration agents abide by New Zealand laws and conduct their businesses competently and ethically.

It is the government’s intention, however, to introduce new regulations for immigration agents early next year. This will mean better quality advice and penalties for those who operate unethically or illegally.

She also indicated that in the meantime, if people feel that a consultant or agent have not behaved in an appropriate manner, they should contact the immigration services’ border and investigation branch on 03 353 1981 or fax 03 353 1982.

- Eric Yuan - email: eric.yuan@nzmirror.com

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