Immigration officials dismissed for graft

Immigration officials-Dr Jonathan Coleman.jpgIf you have been a victim of corruption while dealing with Immigration New Zealand or if you believe that your application is being unduly delayed because you refused to grease someone’s palm, write to us or contact Immigration New Zealand as soon as possible.

Immigration Minister Dr Jonathan Coleman said that the Department recently dispensed with the services of seven full-time staff on proven charges of misconduct, including fraud and corruption.

It is understood that at least two of the dismissed employees were of Indian origin.

Similar dismissals were reportedly made at the New Delhi (India) and Suva (Fiji) offices of Immigration New Zealand.

“We are very keen to cleanse the Department of graft and deliver quality service to our clients. It is unfortunate that some corrupt officials have harassed applicants, tarnishing the image of the Department. We were under-resourced to handle all complaints with speed and efficiency. The situation is now different,” an official said.

New Immigration Act

Dr Coleman said the new Immigration Act will come into force on November 29, 2010 and that many of the ills of the past would be corrected.

He said state-of-the-art technology would enable senior officials to have better and more efficient checks and balances in place and that it would be easier to spot irregularities and improprieties and ensure quality service delivery.

He conceded that all was not well with the Department and that it was time to take decisive action and get tough on those perpetrating malpractices.

He said a number of new initiatives were on the anvil and that these would be introduced by February 2011.

“These measures will help our managers work smarter, quicker and with greater efficiency. Work is also underway to provide a modern, flexible and fit-for-purpose immigration ICT system.

“The new system will enable Immigration New Zealand to take advantage of recent developments in biometrics and better align its processing systems with partner agencies across the globe,” he said.

The Inquiry into Immigration Matters Report released last year drew the Government’s urgent attention’ to the way in which the Department was functioning.

We may be living in the least corrupt country but graft is not completely out of our government offices.

Following a number of complaints received from our readers, we launched an investigation and came up with some startling revelations.

These have been passed on the Department with the consent of the complainants.

New Facility launched

Meanwhile, Dr Coleman announced the launch of a new online service called Visa View to facilitate job applicants and employers.

He said ‘Visa View’ would enable those applying for work permits to check if they are entitled to work in New Zealand and employers to track the status of their applications for work permits.

“This tool would make it easier for employers to check the visa status of migrants and prevent them from unintentionally falling foul of immigration law.

“There are tougher obligations to ensure all workers are legally entitled to work in New Zealand. ‘Visa View’ will help employers meet those obligations without having to grapple with red tape and overly bureaucratic measures,” he said.

The system is currently on trial and would come into force on November 29, 2010.

Dr Coleman said ‘Visa View’ would check the information provided by registered employers against the data base of Immigration New Zealand and in most cases, the employer would receive ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ response in real time.

As a part of the new immigration regime, foreign nationals would be allowed to apply for a new ‘Interim Visa’ while their applications for the extension of their temporary visa is being considered. But the Government has not yet determined the date from which this facility would be available.

However, a new sponsorship provision, allowing organisations to sponsor migrants may be available from December.

The existing law allows only individuals to sponsor foreigners.

“This will meet the needs of the community and sporting groups to sponsor individuals under the existing Talent and Visitor policies,” Dr Coleman said, speaking to the members of the Auckland District Law Society at their recent meeting.

Indian Newslink will analyse the upcoming changes to Immigration law in an ensuing edition.

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“We need a smarter, more efficient and robust Immigration Regime”

Dr Jonathan Coleman, Immigration Minister

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