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Govt must make immigration inquiry urgent

Hon Lockwood Smith MP
National Party Immigration Spokesman

11 November 2007

Govt must make immigration inquiry urgent

The Government must make urgent its investigation into claims at least one senior Immigration Department official is involved in an elaborate scam which has seen hundreds of international student graduates ripped off, says National's Immigration spokesman Dr Lockwood Smith.

"It is alleged this fraudulent operation has been going on for years and there are claims it has been aided and abetted by high-level staff at the Department of Immigration.

"While police will obviously conduct their own investigation it is imperative the Government makes its inquiry a priority.

"This is the department whose own intelligence unit knew what was going on with Taito Phillip Field but failed to pass that information on to the Government. It is also the department which was caught out lying in unison.

"Good foreign students graduating from New Zealand tertiary institutions must be protected and the scheme under which they are able to find employment and gain residency must be robust and free from abuse.

"The Government must do everything it can to ensure New Zealand's reputation as an attractive destination for foreign fee-paying students remains in tact."

ENDS

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