Sentence in Filipino visa fraud case
4 APRIL 2017
Sentence over work visa scam
A dual Filipino / New Zealand national has been sentenced after pleading guilty to 284 charges involving multiple fraudulent work visa applications submitted by Filipinos seeking work in the New Zealand dairy industry.
Loraine Jayme was sentenced at the Hamilton District Court to 11 months’ two weeks home detention and 180 hours’ community work.
INZ Assistant General Manager Peter Devoy says the prosecution resulted from painstaking work by immigration officers.
“The officers involved did a fantastic job in gathering evidence which led to the prosecution,” Mr Devoy says. “Jayme systematically ripped off vulnerable migrant workers. Although these charges are very serious we believe they only represent the tip of the iceberg of Jayme’s offending.
Jayme was charged in October 2015 after an Immigration New Zealand (INZ) investigation uncovered her involvement in fraudulent visa applications. The investigation began after staff verifying visa applications identified anomalies in visa applications and a Southland farmer reported migrants claiming he had offered them work without his knowledge.
Although the investigation was far reaching, the prosecution focused on five non-existent dairy farms and fictitious employers created by Jayme through a complex series of forged documents, submitted to both INZ and other New Zealand agencies. She fabricated job offer letters and Employment Agreements, including false farm vacancy requests sent to Work and Income in order to obtain letters confirming the unavailability of suitably qualified New Zealanders.
Jayme subsequently pleaded guilty to extensive charges of forgery, using a forged document, deception and supplying false or misleading Information to an Immigration Officer.
More details of the circumstances that led to the charges being laid are contained in the attached summary of facts.
Notes to editors:
Amendments were made last to immigration instructions in November 2015 to allow further work visas to be granted to Filipino dairy workers who may have provided incorrect information relating to their qualifications and experience with their original work visa applications.
Under the changes applicants who admit to previously providing incorrect information but who are compliant in all other respects are eligible to be granted a further work visa, as long as they meet all other Essential Skills requirements.
The approach acknowledges that many of these workers are making a significant contribution to their employers and their communities and are well-settled in New Zealand. It also accepts the admission of having provided incorrect information by workers who come forward.