A news story broadcast on Philippines television promoting student visas as a sure path to New Zealand residency is being branded as fake and dangerous.
The story, which aired on People's Television Network (PTV) this year reported Filipinos could bring their families with them on a student visa and would be guaranteed a job after graduating.
Philippines ambassador Jesus Domingo said migrants were coming to New Zealand under false hope and were being left sorely disappointed.
"In the enthusiasm and the false hope that one can eventually migrate here, you have many people shelling out their life savings, selling the family farm, chasing a false dream," he said.
A petition, which by last night had more than 3000 signatures, was launched calling for PTV to retract and correct the story.
Mr Domingo said the news segment was irresponsible and promoted the use of educational agencies, some of which charged thousands of dollars in unnecessary consultation fees.
"On many occasions it is that an advisor or an agency will use the slogan 'study-work-live' giving the impression that you need to go through an agent in order to obtain a student visa. You do not need to go through an agent to obtain a student visa.
"The agency will also give the impression that study is a sure path to finding long-term work and eventually residency, this is only possible in very limited circumstances, certainly not as readily as these agencies will lead on to."
He said New Zealand Private Training Establishments (PTE) were making money by partnering with these agencies, and likened it to student trafficking.
"Because of the fairly limited oversight, you have a lot of dodgy PTE's utilising agents and allowing them to charge fat commissions."
"There have even been cases of Filipinos committing suicide over the disappointment."
Petition organiser Emmanuel Pelayo said hundreds of students had come forward to tell their stories since the petition was started.
Mr Pelayo said Philippine-based educational agencies were at the root of the problem.
"By all means they're all legal, they go through the proper process, but is it ethical?"
Mr Pelayo has written to Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway asking for help to ensure Filipinos are getting the right information about coming to New Zealand.
The Minister replied, saying he was taking the concerns seriously and urged students to make a formal complaint if they felt they had been misled or exploited.