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Immigration warns of 'too good to be true' job offers

Immigration New Zealand (INZ) is urging migrant workers in New Zealand to educate their family and friends overseas on how to spot potential immigration scams.

Immigration staff are in regular contact with ethnic community leaders, and one common question is what advice we can give people, so they do not get taken advantage of by unscrupulous individuals looking to profit off peoples’ desires to work in New Zealand.

Senior Investigator Helen Garratt says immigration scams are nothing new but with the rise of social media including apps like WhatsApp it is easy for people to get pulled into a scam.

“The general rule is if someone offers you a job in New Zealand and it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is. However, there are a few hallmarks of scams that people can look out for in order to protect themselves.

“An employer or a recruiter cannot charge you for a job. So beware of offers asking you to pay a large sum of money in return for a visa and a job. Also, paying a sum to have your visa application fast-tracked is another sign the offer could be a scam."

“Be careful around job offers promising you will earn an unrealistically high wage or that the job will be a pathway to residency in New Zealand. If they can, people should check directly with the employer that the job offer they have received is genuine,” says Ms Garratt.

INZ’s advice, for people who wish to work in New Zealand, is to apply through approved pathways rather than via third party agents using apps.

“All visa fees are on the immigration website and are far below the cost we are seeing scammers ask migrant workers to pay for the same visa, for instance an Accredited Employer Work Visa for someone applying from India is NZD $750,” says Ms Garratt.

If people need help with their New Zealand visa we recommend they seek advice from Licensed Immigration Advisers who have specialist expertise. The Immigration Advisers Authority (IAA) issues licences to people who are fit and competent to give immigration advice. You can find an adviser on the IAA website.

Any person providing New Zealand immigration advice, anywhere in the world, must be licensed by IAA or be exempt. Licensed Immigration Advisers have met competency standards and are required to follow a professional Code of Conduct (the Code). Amongst other requirements, the Code requires advisers to have a written agreement with you setting out the services they will provide and the cost of those services. Licensed Immigration Advisers must charge fees that are fair and reasonable.  

Avoid the pitfalls of receiving illegal immigration advice. Unlicensed people may not be honest with you or INZ. INZ may not accept a visa application from unlicensed people acting illegally. You can learn more on the IAA website.

The "Guide to licensed immigration advisers" has more information and is available in multiple languages, including Hindi, Punjabi, Chinese, Korean, Samoan, Tongan and Taglish on the IAA website.

It is important to remember that migrant workers have the same minimum employment rights as New Zealand workers. Information on employment rights and responsibilities is available in a range of languages on the Employment New Zealand website.

If anyone is concerned with an application they have submitted themselves, or someone has submitted on their behalf, they can contact us to discuss this. Call 0508 558 855 if in New Zealand or +64 9 914 4100 if calling from overseas.

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