Government claims about Immigration prosecutions hot air
Spokesperson for Immigration
5 March 2014 MEDIA STATEMENT
Government claims about Immigration prosecutions just hot air
Claims by Michael Woodhouse that successful immigration fraud prosecutions have risen under his watch, are meaningless, says Labour’s Immigration spokesperson Rajen Prasad.
“The Minister of Immigration has crowed that successful prosecutions for immigration fraud have increased by between 400 and 500 % since 2008-9. In fact what Michael Woodhouse is not saying is that he is talking about just 72 successful prosecutions in five years, an average of less than 15 a year.
“That is hardly anything to boast about given the scale of immigration fraud, including illegal job selling, that has been brought to the notice of Immigration New Zealand.
“When it comes to the number of complaints investigated there is reason for even more concern. Immigration New Zealand received an average of 790 complaints for immigration fraud over the past five years. On average over this period only 69 complaints were investigated annually. So only 12 cases in every hundred complained about are being investigated.
“The number of complaints lodged with Immigration New Zealand is just the tip of the iceberg. Most immigration lawyers and advisers know about many more cases of fraud and the migrant community could write a book on it. Yet few cases are investigated and even less prosecuted.
“This lax approach to corruption of our immigration system is occurring at a time when we are increasingly hearing of more widespread fraud.
“It was revealed just a few days ago when Filipino workers employed in the Christchurch rebuild were charged $14,000 each to secure a job and a visa to New Zealand.
“These illegal and shonky practices are making a mockery of New Zealand’s immigration system and opening it up to abuse. The Minister ought to be concerned about the damage this is doing to New Zealand’s standing for transparency and lack of corruption.
“The Minister needs to set up an enquiry to get to the bottom of these illegal practices and find robust solutions that protect New Zealand’s immigration system.”