Authorities ignoring education fraud - NZAMI


A group representing immigration advisers says authorities in New Zealand have failed to take action to stop rampant fraud among dodgy education agents in India.

The Association for Migration and Investment (NZAMI) believes the issue is being ignored because of the billions of dollars being made from international schools in New Zealand.

The Bandra Kurla Complex in Mumbai is where Immigration New Zealand has its office, and where staff are dealing with hundreds of cases of education fraud.

In fact, we're told the Mumbai office has had 369 "fraud encounters" in just the past 16 weeks.

But Toni Alexander from NZAMI says she had a colleague visit Mumbai to warn about the issue months ago, and nothing was done.

"There was no action taken," she says. "He also went to the police in Mumbai and they said, 'Well they're not breaking Indian laws'."

She's talking about corrupt agents who often create fake Gmail accounts and liaise directly with Immigration NZ in Mumbai, pretending to be the student.

If they're successful in getting a student into the country, they get thousands in commission from the Kiwi tertiary provider.

"We have encountered a lot of fraud, so yes it's something we are actively working on," says Geoff Scott, Immigration NZ assistant general manager.

"We have a degree of concern. But equally we have measures in place to identify and manage the fraud."

Immigration NZ says those measures include recently putting risk managers in its India offices.

Part of the problem is that agents recruiting students in India don't need to be licensed -- they're exempt from the rules. The Association wants that changed. 

Education New Zealand, the agency which promotes New Zealand as a place of world class education, wouldn't do an interview, but says in cases where the rules are being flouted it urges people to make formal complaints.