In­dia-to-NZ visa re­jec­tion rate tops 50%

Fiji Sun - - World News - Jy­otip@fi­jisun.com.fj

Welling­ton: More In­dian stu­dent visas have been de­clined than ap­proved in the past 10 months, as Im­mi­gra­tion New Zealand bat­tles wide­spread fraud.

In fig­ures re­vealed to the Her­ald, 10,863 of the 20,887 ap­pli­ca­tions the agency re­ceived from ap­pli­cants in In­dia were de­clined. Among the de­clined ap­pli­ca­tions, 9190 had been lodged by un­li­censed ed­u­ca­tion ad­vis­ers, stu­dent agents and lawyers who are ex­empt from li­cenc­ing. Mu­n­ish Sekhri, vice-pres­i­dent of Li­cenced Im­mi­gra­tion Ad­vis­ers NZ, an In­dia-based group rep­re­sent­ing li­cenced agents, said fraud in In­dia was wide­spread and it would be an “up­hill chal­lenge” for Im­mi­gra­tion to “win the war”.

“I would say one in three ap­pli­cants from Pun­jab would have used some form of de­cep­tion and up to 80 per cent for those from Hy­der­abad,” said Mr Sekhri. “The un­li­cenced agents they use to do any­thing from ar­rang­ing fake doc­u­ments, pro­vid­ing fraud­u­lent fund­ing and even an im­poster ser­vice.”

For about NZ$1000 (FJ$1435.21), agents would set up fake emails and phone num­bers to im­per­son­ate clients to take ver­i­fi­ca­tion calls from Im­mi­gra­tion. An ad­ver­tise­ment in an In­dian news­pa­per from a com­pany called Im­pe­rial Ed­u­ca­tion reads: “Study in New Zealand ... even if you don’t have funds to show, we can help you get visa.” “It is true that many, many PTEs [pri­vate train­ing es­tab­lish­ments] and some ITPs [in­sti­tutes of tech­nol­ogy and poly­tech­nics] have ac­tively pro­moted this fraud,” said Mr Sekhri. “Th­ese providers pre­fer work­ing with un­li­cenced agents in In­dia, who drive large num­bers of stu­dents to NZ, who have no ac­count­abil­ity to any­one.” He said manda­tory li­cenc­ing of stu­dent-find­ing agents was ur­gently needed to rid the in­dus­try of “cow­boys”. Over the past two years, Im­mi­gra­tion’s Mum­bai of­fice - which pro­cesses all stu­dent visas from In­dian na­tion­als - un­cov­ered 265 ed­u­ca­tion agents who sub­mit­ted ap­pli­ca­tions with fraud­u­lent in­for­ma­tion. It also found 338 ap­pli­cants had used im­posters, 340 with fraud­u­lent funds and 39 with forged doc­u­ments. Since 2010, 1248 In­dian na­tion­als were ei­ther de­ported or left vol­un­tar­ily, 74 of them in the year to April. Im­mi­gra­tion NZ area man­ager Michael Car­ley said the agency and the Im­mi­gra­tion Ad­vis­ers Author­ity (IAA) were aware of th­ese fraud­u­lent meth­ods. “To help ad­dress this, the IAA and INZ ran a cam­paign in In­dia ear­lier this year en­cour­ag­ing peo­ple to use a New Zealand li­cenced ad­vi­sor if they were seek­ing as­sis­tance to come.” The cam­paign would con­tinue in New Zealand over the next three months. The ex­emp­tion of off­shore stu­dent ad­vi­sors from li­cenc­ing was also be­ing re­viewed.

In­dia is New Zealand’s sec­ond­largest and fastest-grow­ing source coun­try for in­ter­na­tional stu­dents. How­ever, stu­dent visa ap­provals for In­di­ans - at 49 per cent - is the low­est among the main in­ter­na­tional stu­dent mar­kets. New Zealand Her­ald

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