Two arrested for immigration fraud; Kingsland Institute permit processing suspended
27 July 2010
Immigration New Zealand has suspended the processing of applications for international students to study at Auckland’s Kingsland Institute, and is reviewing some approved applications, after the arrest of two men, including a manager at the Institute, for immigration fraud.
Head of Immigration Nigel Bickle says the arrests were the result of complaints by two prospective students at the Institute, which provides courses in business, IT, cookery and English.
“At this stage we do not know whether the matter goes wider than these two complainants or this Institute,” he says, “but we need to check, for the sake of the integrity of our immigration system.”
Donald Han, a manager at the Institute, appeared in the Auckland District Court today on three charges under the Immigration Act 1987 relating to providing false and misleading information and two under the Immigration Advisers Licensing Act 2007 (section 63(1)(b)) relating to providing immigration advice when not licensed to do so.
Chheogyal Jah Om Sandyang Lepcha, a licensed immigration adviser, faced two charges under the Immigration Act relating to providing false and misleading information.
The Immigration Act charges each carry a maximum penalty of seven year’s imprisonment and/or a $100,000 fine. The Immigration Advisers Licensing Act charges carry a maximum penalty of a fine of $100,000.
The offences are alleged to have been committed in October 2009 and March 2010.
Both defendants were remanded without plea until 17 August 2010.
Mr Bickle says that, because the matter is before the court, he is unable to comment on the case.
The review of some other Kingsland students’ permit applications is expected to take several weeks. Meantime, all Kingsland permits remain valid.
The permit applications are being checked for any irregularities, but particularly for irregularities similar to those to which the fraud charges relate.
Applicants affected by the suspension of processing are being advised that they may make arrangements with another training provider and those applications will be processed.
Mr Bickle says education is worth more than $2 billion in foreign exchange per annum, with Immigration approving 88,500 student applications in the 2009/10 financial year.
“The integrity of the immigration process for people coming to study here is paramount,” he says. “That’s why we are undertaking this review of applications and have suspended application processing. We have to be sure that all these Kingsland students genuinely met permit requirements.”