Indian student visa fraud soaring, says Immigration New Zealand

  • 21/10/2016
Indian students protesting their deportation (Newshub)
Indian students protesting their deportation (Newshub)

Fraudulent student visa applications by Indian agents have increased dramatically, according to documents released by Immigration NZ (INZ).

The department cracked down on student visa fraud in May after it was discovered hundreds of students, primarily Indian students, were in New Zealand on visas obtained using fake documents.

Many are facing deportation, despite students claiming that they came here in good faith and were not aware that the agents they used were frauds.

Labour has documents obtained under the Official Information Act which show fraud has increased from 75 cases involving 60 agents in April to 640 cases and almost 300 agents by August.

New agents are springing up in India and others are rebranding themselves after their fraudulent applications were detected.

New types of fraud are emerging, including a "rent-an-uncle" scam which involves a pretence that students are being financed by family members.

Four of out five applications by the new agents are being rejected as more and more go into the "not to be trusted" basket.

Labour's Immigration spokesman, Iain Lees-Galloway, says INZ must increases its efforts, and said he wants it to publish the names of New Zealand education institutions that are using fraudulent agents.

Those names have been redacted from the INZ documents.

"If we knew the names of the providers I think it would change the behaviour of those providers very quickly," Mr Lees-Galloway said.