Multiple locations linked to a licensed immigration adviser have been raided in Auckland, in an operation coordinated between New Zealand Police and immigration officers from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE). The adviser is allegedly involved in a sophisticated immigration fraud scheme targeting Indian and Bangladeshi individuals.
During the operation, three search warrants were executed simultaneously at both business and residential addresses of the Licensed Immigration Adviser (LIA). Investigations revealed that the adviser had orchestrated a scam selling counterfeit job offers to migrants abroad.
These fraudulent job offers were used to obtain work visas through Immigration New Zealand’s Accredited Employer Work Visa category. The LIA was found responsible for submitting work visa applications to Immigration New Zealand on behalf of each migrant involved in the scheme.
The fraudulent scheme demanded migrants to pay between NZD $20,000 and $40,000 for a job and visa, only to discover upon arriving in New Zealand that the promised jobs were non-existent. These individuals were then placed in overcrowded accommodations.
Stephanie Greathead, Immigration National Manager Investigations, highlighted how the scam preyed upon the vulnerability of those seeking to enhance their lives and support their families by bringing their skills to New Zealand.
She stated, “Footage of migrants housed in awful conditions in Auckland shocked New Zealand, and undermined trust and confidence in our immigration system. Immigration New Zealand continues to investigate this case to bring all those responsible to justice.”
Following the execution of search warrants, the Licensed Immigration Adviser (LIA) was apprehended and charged with two counts of providing false and misleading information to Immigration New Zealand, an offence under section 342(1)(b) of the Immigration Act 2009. This offence carries a maximum penalty of 7 years imprisonment and/or a $100,000 fine. The investigation is ongoing, with the likelihood of further charges being filed.
Authorities are actively pursuing leads related to other individuals connected to this case.