Immigration NZ swamped with India fraud cases

Immigration NZ swamped with India fraud cases

Newshub can reveal Immigration New Zealand's office in Mumbai, India is being swamped with hundreds of cases of fraud, with dodgy education agents trying to get students into international schools in New Zealand.

The Labour Party says it shows some schools in New Zealand are partnering with fraudsters, and that's putting the country's credibility at risk.

Mumbai, an economic powerhouse, is home to thousands of students who dream of learning and living in New Zealand.

But fraud is a massive problem.

"There are real issues with a small number of absolutely shonky providers that are able to rort the system," says Paul Chalmers, spokesperson for Auckland International Education Group.

He's talking about shonky schools that accept fraudulent documents and partner with dodgy overseas agents -- agents who get commissions worth thousands for finding and processing a student.

In the past two years, Immigration New Zealand's office in Mumbai has uncovered:

Some of the fraudulent information like fake English language entry tests.  

"There are really good providers out there who are going to be penalised by this because their reputation will be tarnished because of the dodgy behaviour of some," says Labour's education spokesperson Chris Hipkins.

Mr Chalmers represents Auckland private training establishments (PTEs) and says the illegal way in which some schools recruit students must be stopped.

"There is a small group of unethical operators who are able to flip their nose at the Government," says Mr Chalmers.

The Government says it will punish dodgy operators.

"There have been a number of providers who have had their ability to recruit international students stopped over the years," says Tertiary Education Minister Steven Joyce.

Relaxed English language testing has in the past caused embarrassing and serious problems.

In 2014, Immigration New Zealand in Mumbai did a survey of 178 students who had received an offer for a place in a New Zealand school and were assessed as having passed all English language requirements.

But after being interviewed, it was discovered only 17 students (9 percent) were considered "credible" students with "genuine" intentions and satisfactory English language abilities.

"That's an absolutely shocking figure," says Mr Hipkins. "These students are being set up to fail."

The Government says rules have since been tightened up -- students in India must now sit internationally recognised tests.

Those working with migrants want exploiters shut down immediately.

"NZQA is in the position to protect the reputation of New Zealand against those types of anomalies or irregularities," says First Union Migrant representative Dennis Maga.

"So we would like to see them taking a hard line stand."