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Would-be migrants use fake documents to get into New Zealand

Posted on March 21, 2015
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People passing themselves off as plumbers, engineers and business administrators, using bogus credentials, have been caught trying to come in to New Zealand.

In the past three years, a dozen foreigners have been caught out by New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) attempting to lie their way into the country using falsified documents, according to information released by the authority.

Details disclosed under the Official Information Act show 12 people since 2012 have claimed they have had a degree, diploma or certificate they did not complete or never gained in order to immigrate to New Zealand.

People from Fiji were the most common offenders and diplomas were the most-forged qualification.

However, NZQA was able to detect that the qualifications were fake. In one case an applicant from Malaysia claimed to hold a diploma in electrical electronics engineering from Institut Teknologi Negeri before investigations showed the qualification was never issued.

Another applicant from Pakistan claimed to have a business degree from Hamdard University in Karachi and it was proved it was a fake. An applicant from Fiji claimed to have a trade certificate in refrigeration from the training authority of Fiji but the person never went to the training centre.

Some applicants caught by NZQA tried to forge signatures and seals on qualification documents and had drawn up certificates that had little to no resemblance to originals.

In one case, an applicant from Israel claimed to have a technology degree from ORT Braude College before investigations showed the transcript was not authentic.

Another applicant from Fiji claimed to have credentials to be a plumber from the Training and Productivity Authority of Fiji but had faked the certificate.

An applicant from Egypt claimed to have a diploma in diesel motor mechanics from Mamoun International Corporation and was caught because of the forged documents they used.

An applicant from Cyprus claimed to have a masters degree in business administration from CTL Eurocollege but investigation showed the data was false and the qualification a fake.

The number of fraudulent qualifications being used to gain entry to New Zealand and exposed by NZQA has remained steady since 2012, with four people every year.

NZQA chief executive Karen Poutasi said New Zealand was not immune to forged qualification problems but there were quality assurance, regulatory frame works and qualification evaluation practices in place to provide protection. Strong, effective networks of information and intelligence were maintained across countries and within agencies to combat the issue, she said.

All documents were checked and if found to be false, cases were passed to Immigration NZ and Interpol for prosecution if necessary.
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