Chinese students deported over visa scam

SHANE COWLISHAW
Last updated 05:00 03/10/2012

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Sixteen Chinese students have been deported and an Immigration New Zealand staffer has quit after an investigation into hundreds of fraudulent visas.

Routine checks in June on student visas processed through Immigration NZ's Beijing office revealed falsified bank statements and qualifications had been used to support applications.

A wider investigation found 279 visa applications relied on fraudulent evidence and 231 students were still in New Zealand, all based at private English-language institutions in Auckland.

Of the students already in New Zealand, 60 of them had overstayed their visas.

In July Tertiary Education Minister Steven Joyce said two independent Chinese immigration agents were linked to all the cases.

A review was undertaken looking at whether Chinese nationals working for Immigration NZ were also involved. Yesterday, the agency confirmed one staff member was no longer working for them.

Visa Services general manager Nicola Hogg said the staff member was a Chinese national employed at Immigration NZ's Beijing office.

Each year there are about 25,000 student visa applications from China.

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- The Dominion Post

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