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Indian student visa fraud soaring

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 20/10/2016

Fraudulent student visa applications by Indian agents has increased dramatically and they're inventing new ways to bamboozle authorities, documents released by Immigration NZ show.

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

Many are facing deportation, despite angry protestations by students claiming they came here in good faith and didn't know 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 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.

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