INZ strengthening verification processes in battle against fraud
Immigration New Zealand (INZ) is boosting its risk and verification processes in the ongoing battle against visa fraud.
INZ Assistant General Manager Peter Elms is welcoming comments on RNZ this morning by the chair of the New Zealand
Association for Migration and Investment (NZAMI), June Ranson, recognising that INZ is vetting visa applications more
closely to weed out marriages of convenience.
“We have a positive relationship with the NZAMI and it’s heartening to see the organisation’s comments about our work in
this area,” Mr Elms says. “As part of our new operating model additional resources are earmarked for risk and
verification. As well as verification officers onshore we have a presence in a number of strategically important
locations offshore, including Mumbai, Beijing, London, Bangkok, Pretoria, Manila, Washington DC and Dubai.
“INZ is very aware of partnership fraud and as a result considers partnership applications extremely carefully,” Mr
Elms says. “Every application is assessed for its genuineness and stability. Most relationships are absolutely genuine
and can be approved with a minimum of fuss but a minority will fabricate, manipulate or exaggerate a relationship in
order to obtain a visa to come to or remain in New Zealand. In those cases where we are suspicious of the relationship
we will undertake additional verification in order to maintain the integrity of the immigration system. This means we
may take longer to decide some applications, but it’s important we take the time needed to make the right decision.”
INZ has received a total of 1,361 allegations about relationship fraud since July 2010. As with every other type of
immigration offending each allegation is triaged to see whether it meets the criteria for investigation. A total of 49
cases were investigated, but on average INZ declines almost a third of partnership visitor applications and almost one
in 10 of work and residence partnership applications. Applicants who are unsuccessful are generally prevented from
travelling to New Zealand or, if already here, are required to leave or face deportation.
INZ urges anyone who is aware of any immigration fraud to contact us through our Contact Centre on 0508 558 855.