Immigration fraud whistle blowers declined visas by INZ
4 February 2014
Immigration fraud whistle blowers declined visas and threatened with immediate deportation by Immigration New Zealand
Three Indian nationals, all now represented by Auckland Immigration lawyer Alastair McClymont came forward voluntarily in December 2013 with almost identical stories of a Newmarket based recruitment agent who had charged fees for placing the applicants in jobs.
The recruitment agent however pocketed the money and entered into an elaborate fraud with his clients to make it seem as if genuine employment offers had been obtained and visa applications submitted.
The applicants lawyer, Mr McClymont notes that the fraud would appear to have been quite sophisticated “either the employment agent or the Immigration Advisor dealing with the visa applications had gone to the extent of creating bogus emails purporting to be requests for further information from Immigration New Zealand and passports were even returned to our clients in courier bags purporting to be from Immigration New Zealand. When we made enquiries with Immigration New Zealand however we discovered that no applications were ever lodged.”
Staff from Mr McClymonts office investigated further and discovered that even the employers who had purportedly given the job offers knew nothing of these offers and confirmed that the Human Resource Managers purporting to have interviewed the clients also did not exist.
On behalf of these victims Mr McClymont immediately notified the Fraud Branch of Immigration New Zealand, provided evidence of the fraud and tried to secure an interview with Officers of the Fraud Branch of Immigration New Zealand so that the victims could give their story.
What happened next however came as a shock to the whistle blowers.
“The recruitment agent had taken the victims money and passports and had purported to lodge Work Visa applications on their behalf. In fact no applications were submitted and all of our clients had become overstayers. Having volunteered to provide evidence and information to the Fraud Branch our clients then requested short term Visitor Visas to enable them to remain in New Zealand whilst giving their version of events to the Fraud Branch” explains Mr McClymont.
“Immigration New Zealand however simply refused to grant our clients visas, threatened them with immediate deportation and in response to concerns raised with the Fraud Branch they simply said that they were too busy”.
Mr McClymont was stunned to discover the level of disinterest that Immigration New Zealand had in gathering evidence. Despite promises to interview the victims and review the evidence Immigration New Zealand instead simply told them to leave or be deported.
“What is most surprising” says Mr McClymont, “is that this type of fraud is at a level of sophistication which I have not yet encountered in my 17 years of doing this work. The fact that the victims received emails purporting to be from Auckland lawyer, received emails purporting to be from Immigration New Zealand, received documentation contracts and interviews purporting to be from large Auckland companies which all turned out to be completely fraudulent shows the level of sophistication of the immigration fraudsters are now going to in order to scam their victims.”
“I would have thought that Immigration New Zealand would have jumped at the opportunity of getting their hands on this evidence and interviewing these victims however the exact opposite proved to be the case with Immigration New Zealand wanting the victims gone or face deportation. It would seem therefore that out of sight out of mind was now the way of dealing with immigration fraud”.