28 Jul 2012

Labour seeks safety assurance for visa scam victims

5:00 pm on 28 July 2012

The Labour Party says the Government needs to assure people they won't be punished if they come forward with complaints about immigration scams.

Lawyers, police and immigration officials attended a public meeting in Auckland on Saturday to discuss how to protect the victims of such scams.

Police in south Auckland are investigating the latest fake residency visa scheme.

It's thought up to 2000 people may have been affected by it, but lawyers say many have not laid complaints because they're scared of being deported.

Labour's Pacific Islands spokesperson, Su'a William Sio, says such people need to be assured they won't be punished.

"Unless some authority - whether it be the Police Minister or the Minister of Immigration - steps forward and guarantees safety for these people," Mr Suo says, "then you're not going to get people coming forward laying the complaints - and we need their complaints in order to put a stop to the ongoing scams."

The meeting also discussed the need for more staff and resources for the Immigration Advisory Authority, so that unlicensed immigration advisers like those selling fake visas can be better prosecuted.