Indian student visa fraud: New Zealand agency advises to verify the consultant is government-recognised 

Kolkata, October 27: Amid a raging controversy over Indian student visa fraud, a New Zealand agency for international education on Wednesday advised potential applicants to go through government-recognised education agents.

Education New Zealand (ENZ), the Oceanian country’s government agency for international education, stressed that such a process will ensure that the students and parents realise they are ultimately responsible for the repercussions.

“We are reducing the risk of frauds, but we want to make sure that the students and the parents realise that they are ultimately responsible for the repercussions… they sign saying everything is correct,” Grant McPherson, the ENZ Chief Executive, told IANS, referring to the declaration that the applicants sign asserting the information they have submitted is accurate.

“We would suggest that if they are having trouble identifying an agent, they should come to our website, which has a list of recognised agents, and also (visit) Immigration New Zealand website, which also has a list of licensed immigration agents. So, the responsibilities are with everybody in the system to ensure these frauds do not keep on occurring,” he said.

Immigration New Zealand (INZ) began a crackdown on forged bank documents from Indian students in May.

“A number of students have been identified for fraudulent visas. We are engaging with them on a one-on-one basis. Some of them are looked after and interviewed by INZ, while some are being dealt with around humanitarian rights and natural justice. There’s also an appeal process that the students can use,” McPherson said.

INZ’s Mumbai area office in September confirmed that eight Hyderabad-based consultants, who had been sending most number of students to New Zealand, have been involved in the visa fraud.

They also said that the visa rejection rate and the number of students being deported are highest among Indians.

Students from Hyderabad topped the list among Indians.

A Strategic Education Partnership Agreement was signed between the universities of New Zealand and the Maharashtra state government to coincide with New Zealand Prime Minister John Key’s visit to India.