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Minister of Immigration must stop scammers

Rajen Prasad
Spokesperson on Immigration

20 March 2014

Minister must stop scammers

Michael Woodhouse should ask how information which would normally be available only to Immigration New Zealand has ended up in the hands of scammers, says Labour’s Immigration Spokesperson Rajen Prasad.

“The Police say they have received complaints from at least eleven immigrants who have fallen victim to these scams. So far the police have no clues on who the scammers are, but all the victims known to them are from India.

“There can only be two sources of private information on immigrants and their applications for visas - either Immigration New Zealand or the Visa Application Centres that process all applications. Visa Application Centres are businesses operating under contract to Immigration New Zealand. They are located in 12 countries and, for a fee, receive and process all applications for visas.

“The Visa Application Centres need to be organisations held in high trust as they have access to passports and other private details of applicants. Similarly immigration New Zealand must also guarantee private information is thoroughly protected.

“There were over 37,000 applications lodged through Visa Application Centres in the 2012-13 financial year and therefore they urgently need to ensure the security of the system and applicants’ private information on applicants.

“We need an urgent examination of all potential sources of the information on applicants that could be being leaked to the scammers.”

ENDS

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