By Gurbir Singh:
The International College of Auckland has been convicted of immigration fraud in the Auckland District Court and fined $40,000. This is the first New Zealand Private Training Establishment (PTE) to be charged and convicted.
The International College of Auckland pleaded guilty at their first appearance to 52 charges of breaching the Immigration Act by supplying false or misleading information to an Immigration Officer.
The charges relate to a scheme by the College between 2015 – 2017, where this institute provided official receipts stating that students had paid the full amount of the course fees, but the students had only paid part. Under immigration instructions a full payment is required for the course in order to be granted a student visa for the duration of their course.
The receipts were provided by the College to the students to submit to Immigration New Zealand (INZ), along with the Offer of Place to support their student visa application.
Judge Collins said he considered the offending by the College to be gross negligence. There was a serious failure in honesty and he considered the false receipts to be forgeries.
Assistant General Manager, INZ, Pete Devoy welcomed the guilty plea by the College at their first appearance.
“Providing false and misleading information as a PTE is deeply concerning. It directly challenges the integrity of the New Zealand immigration system,” says Pete Devoy.
“The use of fraudulent information undermines the fair and effective administration of New Zealand immigration for the hundreds of thousands of people who apply to INZ. Truthful self-declaration is the cornerstone of New Zealand Immigration.
“Immigration New Zealand has a strong interest in ensuring education providers are upfront and we rely on the honesty and competency of organisations that are involved in immigration through supporting visa applications.
“We will not turn a blind eye to offending by PTEs who are trusted by INZ to provide truthful and verified information to support visa applications,” says Pete Devoy.
In October 2017, the NZQA withdrew accreditation of four business courses of the International College of Auckland (ICA) for “poor quality teaching.”
Out of 82 students that were affected by this decision, 80 were from India.
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