A cash-for-residency scam exposed by a whistle-blower is just the tip of the iceberg. I have had constituents, friends and acquaintances tell of many examples where an intermediary, a business owner or a registered practitioner has engaged in job selling.
However, in all cases, no one was prepared to allow me to make their information public or take it to Immigration New Zealand (INZ) for investigation.
I can understand their reluctance while their own applications for residence were being considered.
What is surprising is the ingenuity of those abusing our immigration system with their fraudulent methods for collecting illegal payments, not all of which takes place in New Zealand.
From what I gather, Immigration is aware of these activities but is unable to collect enough evidence to prosecute.
While Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse is looking to increase sanctions on offenders that only displays a lack of understanding of the problem and the way the abuse is being carried out.
Mr Woodhouse has to immediately establish an inquiry into the abuse of our immigration system with the appropriate immunity granted to those who come forward.
Abuse of the immigration system is now endemic and it requires bold solutions to restore its credibility and the Government must act now.
Dr Rajen Prasad is Member of Parliament on Labour List and the Party’s Spokesperson for Immigration.
Our Staff Reporter adds:
The Whistle-Blower that Dr Prasad referred in his article above was Fiji-born Sam Narayan, who participated in a sting operation set up by Campbell Live (TV 3) to identify Jerry Lee, allegedly the man behind an elaborate job scam in Auckland.
The TV programme showed in its nightly programme on January 28 and 29, 2014 how the estimated $1.6 million job offer fraud is played out, involving Mr Lee and at least 40 foreigners keen on gaining Permanent Residence status following their employment.
In one meeting with Mr Narayan, Mr Lee boasted that he had ‘arranged many job offers’ for foreigners ‘irrespective of their qualifications and experience’ with contracts mentioning salaries to gain INZ approval.
Campbell Live Reporter Tristram Clayton was seen chasing Mr Lee running away from the camera at a scene in Central Auckland.
Mr Clayton said in his report that the scam involves immigrants paying up to $45,000 for a job. In some cases, they ended up working for free. In others, they would work for a nominal fee but the company they were working for would send false documents to INZ, saying that they were earning large salaries to satisfy Immigration requirements.
Mr Narayan told Campbell Live that Mr Lee had promised him a job in the IT industry on payment of $45,000.
“It is like you give the money today, you are in the job tomorrow. You do not have to go to the interview. You do not even have to know what you are doing. You do not need any qualifications; as long as you got the money, you got the job,” Mr Narayan said.
According to Mr Clayton, two days after their meeting, Mr Lee rang Mr Narayan to tell him that he had found a company that would hire him. He was told to come to Parnell and bring $5000 down payment.”
The Editor adds:
We had published a front page story in our November 1, 2013 issue, carrying a note of caution issued by Auckland City District Police Detective Greg Brand to migrant workers, international students and those on visit visas from India about some people making job offers.
“We have recently received a large number of complaints from members of the Indian community stating that they had become victims of false advertisements appearing in popular websites such as ‘Trade Me’ and ‘Seek.’ We wish to warn people against responding to such job offers, since most of them are proving to be false and misleading. Those applying for such jobs could place themselves in jeopardy,” he said.
If you are a victim of fake job offers or know of someone who makes or receives such offers, please write to firstname.lastname@example.org