28 Sep 2015

Migrant worker scam uncovered

6:31 pm on 28 September 2015

More than 30 Filipino workers reportedly paid $15,000 to obtain false documents clearing them to work on New Zealand dairy farms.

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Photo: 123rf.com

Immigration New Zealand has confirmed multiple Filipino workers have provided false and misleading information when applying for visas here.

Immigration NZ assistant general manager Peter Elms said the department started scrutinising visas more closely after discovering multiple issues, relating to claimed work experience and qualifications.

The department has not confirmed the number of cases that it is aware of, nor whether it was investigating, but the Philippine government said it was investigating at least 30 cases. The Philippine government's Overseas Employment Administration is also looking into the claims.

Reports from Manila suggest the workers may have paid $15,000 each for false documents.

A spokesperson at the Philippine embassy in New Zealand, Glenn Obach, told Checkpoint some of the workers questioned the authenticity of the documents they had used to apply for visas to work here, and they would need to reapply for their visas.

"Currently, because a number of them are going to renew their visas, most of them have delays on the renewal."

Mr Obach said the workers had the option of returning home voluntarily.

The Philippines has just signed a bilateral agreement with New Zealand to improve the protection of Filipino workers from illegal recruiters.

About 40,000 Philippine citizens work in New Zealand dairy farms, factories and rest homes.