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Don’t ‘buy’ a job to get a visa warns officials

Officials warn would-be migrants against an emerging practice of paying for employment contracts in an effort to obtain visas and residency. This practice often takes the shape of a scam employed by fake immigration agents.


Don’T ‘Buy’ A Job To Get A Visa Warns Officials

A recent investigation by Radio New Zealand revealed evidence of migrant workers being scammed out of thousands of dollars for fake jobs. This trend seems to be an international phenomenon and suspected job-selling for visas are increasing.

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Cases have emerged which paint a picture of how desperate immigrants are paying thousands of dollars to rogue immigration advisers and companies to validate their applications for work or residence visas.

An immigration tribunal noted it had seen "multiple cases" featuring suspected job selling, and Immigration New Zealand said it monitored "high-risk" employers.

The tribunal said some victims are being exploited by their employers after paying as much as NZ $ 24,000 through bank accounts to 'buy' a job.

In its decision the tribunal explained: "Money is used in part to "purchase" employment in New Zealand with or without the funds being remitted to New Zealand. Then the parties present that employment to Immigration New Zealand as genuine in order to gain visas fraudulently. In such cases, there is potential tax evasion, immigration fraud, breach of employment laws, and human trafficking issues."

Immigration officials have also been trying to crack down on companies selling jobs to immigrants, including one which has supported almost 100 visa applications to Immigration New Zealand. Many of the employees left the company after their visas were approved.

Job-selling is a real problem

Richard Small, chair of governance of the New Zealand Association for Migration and Investment, said paying for jobs as a way of obtaining visas will be the next scandal.

"I've long believed and known that job-selling is a real problem. Most immigration advisers have anecdotes they can tell you about clients or would-be clients who come to you and tell you about a premium that's to be paid for a job in the IT industry."

A clear definition of job-selling should be put into legislation following revelations of students scammed over visas.

“I think it's where there is money changing hands that has nothing to do with merit and it's people getting employment solely for the reason of meeting immigration criteria rather than the immigration system supporting legitimate skills shortages,” said Small.

Immigration New Zealand said it did not hold figures on how many cases of job selling there had been.

Assistant general manager Peter Devoy said there were 44 successful prosecutions between July 2014 and July 2016, including 11 cases of providing false and misleading information to an immigration officer.

"Potentially some of the 11 may relate to the provision of false job offers however, due to the way the information is collated we are unable to breakdown this figure any further."

He said Immigration New Zealand declined applications for a work visa where it considers that the employment was offered as a result of a payment made by the applicant to the employer in exchange for securing that offer of employment.

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"Once a high-risk employer was identified an immigration alert would be loaded against the client's record in our Application Management System database and would provide information to INZ staff when they are required to make a decision in relation to the client."

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