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Labour oppose visa scams – Nats would rather have the quick bucks

Written By: - Date published: 7:02 am, June 13th, 2017 - 35 comments
Categories: education, Ethics, im/migration, labour - Tags: , , , , ,

Labour is right to stress the many advantages that immigration brings to NZ, and right to draw attention to the major way in which it is being abused – student visa scams. No doubt there are honest and effective private educational institutions, but there are far too many bad ones dragging the whole sector into disrepute. There’s a good summary in yesterday’s piece by Tracy Watkins on Stuff:

The Government’s on the wrong side of immigration debate

Bill English must have known he was in trouble when got himself in a pickle over Labour’s immigration policy by defending visas for people to stack supermarket shelves.

With immigration at record numbers and tens of thousands of young Kiwis either not in work or training, most people would struggle to fathom why we need to import people to stack baked beans. … English dodged questions over whether stacking supermarket shelves counted as a skilled occupation.

On that point (Emily Spink on Stuff): 90,000 young Kiwis have no job, no training to go to. That’s a massive failure of government, and a disaster for NZ. But back to Watkins:

A measure of that is the cautious welcome it [Labour’s policy] received from groups not usually seen as Labour cheerleaders, including Federated Farmers.

Labour’s plan leaves room for immigration to fill regional skills shortages in industries like farming while raising the bar in Auckland where the effects of soaring immigration have included a flood of students.

Little says the foreign student market is being used as a backdoor entry to residency via low level courses and low skilled work.

English counters that choking off the lucrative export education market risks killing the golden goose. But sympathy is likely to be with Labour on the issue. Behind the quick bucks in export education are too many headlines about student visa scams and foreign students being exploited by shady education providers. …

So English turns a blind eye to “shady education providers” as long as the “quick bucks” keep coming. How bad is it?

Immigration scam: ‘Corruption, organised crime’ with student visas

Government officials have warned that “corruption” and “organised crime” have infiltrated the system granting student visas from India. Documents obtained by Newshub show a senior immigration official warning that “organised crime may have penetrated the [student visa] process”. The Mumbai-based official also warned of “fraud” and “organised corruption”.

The documents raise questions about corruption in the process to enter New Zealand and worker exploitation once people arrive. …

We are exploiting these overseas students:

NZ dream turns to nightmare for international students

The cash-for-job scam is now so common that Immigration New Zealand is investigating 55 possible cases. Anderson says the going rate for a “job letter” in Auckland is $20,000 to $25,000, but she has heard of payments up to $40,000.

Researchers say evidence has been building for years that foreign students are working in substandard conditions in the hope of winning long-term residency.

Collins points the finger at politicians, who he says are far too focused on getting revenue out of students, without considering their welfare. “The Government is quite clearly utilising various mechanisms… so that students can work in order to promote the export education scheme – that is to make money out of it and to use students as a commodity in that sector.” …

Take a bow Bill English. A few other pieces on this mess. Here:

Student visa fraud: ‘It’s not about education’

Written answers to parliamentary questions by Cunliffe have also established that Immigration NZ has 13 live investigations into potential student visa fraud at 12 tertiary education organisations (TEOs).

19 PTEs are classified by the Tertiary Education Commission as ‘high-risk’, with five ongoing Serious Fraud Office investigations and two providers at risk of default.

58 TEOs were investigated for potential probity (honesty) or major education delivery issues by either TEC or NZQA in 2015 (up by 61 per cent from the previous year). There were 46 investigations underway at August 1 this year.

Cunliffe argues that these figures don’t even scratch the surface of the real problem, which he puts down a lack of monitoring and enforcement. …

and:

Student visa scam – It’s the tip of the iceberg

Since the Herald began publishing its three-part investigation into the student visa scandal, the emails have flooded in. Most have come from people in or close to the industry. Virtually all say the same thing – you are absolutely right, this is the tip of the iceberg, here is what happened in the place where I worked. Then most add – but please don’t publish my name, because I still need a job. The reluctance to speak out publicly is understandable but is also a crucial part of the problem. It seems clear from anecdotal evidence, as well as the number of investigations under way – 58 at last count – that cheating and fraud is widespread among education providers in the international student market. It’s impossible to put a number on it because any dishonesty is carefully hidden. But it seems this is not about a few “bad apples”. Any cheating occurs because of the way the system is set up. International education in New Zealand is designed to bring in as many students as possible, concentrating on revenue rather than high-level qualifications. It offers students a pathway to immigration through part-time work as they study and post-study work visas. And it has targeted India, where millions of people seek to escape a lifetime of poverty and corruption and some are prepared to cut corners for a better life in New Zealand. Not surprisingly, the system appears wide open to abuse.

And:
Warning of ‘education trafficking’ scams hitting New Zealand
Indian student visa fraud numbers snowball
Qualifications in doubt at big school for international students: NZQA
Student cheated three times and still passed: Lecturer
Widespread fraud found among education agencies representing Indian students
The Big Read: The $25 million student funding scandal
More tertiary providers under investigation by Serious Fraud Office
15 corrupt bank managers identified in student fraud
Foreign student intake suspended
Private school rorts revealed
Joyce denies double-standard as Indian students face deportation
Hundreds of students at risk of deportation
‘They don’t really come here to get educated’ – Indian student
South Auckland business school shut down after ‘failing to meet standards’
Schools with thousands of foreign students ‘similar to failed college in cheating scandal’
Three more tertiary providers under investigation
and so on.

As a country we are fleecing and exploiting far too many foreign students. It is shameful that we have allowed this situation to develop in NZ. It would be even more shameful if we allowed it to continue for the sake of easy money. Labour is right to address the problem head on.

35 comments on “Labour oppose visa scams – Nats would rather have the quick bucks ”

  1. Keith 1

    The orchestrated squealing has begun by National, ACT, etc, those fine purveyors of cheap labour, that this is racist.

    Nationals disgraceful policy of poor quality courses offered to students fleecing them of the meager resources to lure what is in essence people from third world countries, knowing full well they are here to get residency and will DO anything their employer desires to get there, has been to the eternal shame of this country.

    The difficulty for National is their modern day slaves speak out and that’s how we got to know this rort existed.

    Of course the Nats will sit there, all choir boy like pretending, as they do, that cheap labour and easy money for dodgy course providers was not the objective but hey, what’s more racist?

  2. One Anonymous Bloke 2

    Didn’t the National Party just pass a law allowing them to give tax revenue directly to these thieves?

    Ah yes, they did.

    The National Party is complicit and corrupt.

  3. Keith 3

    Regarding Andrew Little’s RNZ interview this morning.

    Not answering Espiners borish waste of space gotcha question on Winston Peter’s support for the policy ruined what was otherwise a good interview. And that was what Espiner wanted most of all.

    Dude, just answer the question. It turn a turd molehill into a mountain because you dodged the question. Who cares if Winston liked it? The man has taste. Turn a stupid journo bait question into positive!

    • garibaldi 3.1

      I don’t see why any politician should answer “borish waste of space questions”(the word is actually “boorish”). This is the very reason the left doesn’t get traction in the msm. The “bigger than the game” interviewers are all out to “getcha” rather than address the topic.

    • Gabby 3.2

      Why he couldn’t chuck ‘Winston’s entitled to his opinion’ in Spinner’s teeth I do not know. Andrew’s not the quickest thinker I suspect.

      • Yeah I think Andrew needs to learn that sometimes a dismissive answer is better than dodging the question.

        • Karen 3.2.1.1

          +1
          He is hopeless at quickly shutting down this kind of question and ends up sounding dodgy. I hoped that he’d get better at this but I think he has actually got worse.

  4. The Fairy Godmother 4

    This is a very big problem. Also when I knock on doors for the Labour Party in my part of Auckland there are significant amounts of people who cannot take part in the election because they are not resident. Many are students. Some of them are very angry because their training institutions are not doing enough to get them jobs so they can get work visas. Some of them have families who have sacrificed big time to raise the cash to get them over here. Many are being exploited by unscrupulous employers.. for instance working 40 hours for twenty hours pay. I think it is a mess and could easily get very nasty.

    • Gabby 4.1

      If only the ‘providers’ set out their stalls a bit closer to their market, ie in India. Imagine the savings. And they could ‘provide’ courses tailored to their students’ environment.

  5. Adrian 5

    A person who knows told me about the investigation late last year that it uncovered 204 ‘ students ‘ who had the same ‘ uncle ‘ as a sponsor. Included were the ones who wouldn’t go back.
    Tough on them to lose so much hard to get money, but a scam is a scam.

  6. ianmac 6

    I think Mike Williams said yesterday that this Immigration Policy will not be the major one for the Election. As it was released this early suggests that bigger ones are yet to come.

    • The decrypter 6.1

      Hope so ianmac. Give something more to worry double dipper than just flying in his flash “airforce half ” plane.

  7. Skinny 7

    Labour have hung one on National. It is a deliberate sham setup for driving down kiwi wages for their Tory shills exploiting young workers. The Indian student visa scam clearly showed that.

    Labour should setup a corruption hotline and see what comes out. Then we will see how the untouchable party really goes under public scrutiny.

    The wide reaching effects of their loose immigration policy has the public dirty on national.

  8. Gosman 8

    How big are these supposed scams? Does the Labour party know this or is this just ‘gut instinct’?

    • Weren’t you that nice inquiring chap who asked yesterday about ,…

      ” Where’s the evidence that the skills category is being abused at the moment ” ?…

      To which I gave you the honest advice of it being :

      ”Regularly reported on in just about all major news outlets and social services NGO’s reports ” and that , ” I find regularly keeping up with current events in the news sections a help , perhaps try that as well ” ?

      Well the internet is a wonderful thing and so is the news section. I still recommend trying it.

      Good luck and all the best.

      • Gosman’s new thing is just asking everyone else to do research so he can time them out on a debate while pretending to be Socrates.

        You’re not a teacher, Gosman, and therefore we’re not here just to submit homework to you. If you’re not willing to put in some effort of your own on posts people are under no obligation to do it for you.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 8.2

      The OP mentions ‘government officials’ and the Serious Fraud Office.

      In your mind, which of these is the Labour Party?

    • Skinny 8.3

      Well just go off this honest man;

      http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11874881

      The low wage economy some employers are using by undercutting others should not be supported by Billbot English like he has singled out some in recent times. It was a stand up joke up here he chose one of his donators. Mind you the fanboy is a slippery fellow even fooling Gower who got sucked into the sham alt news.

      • Skinny 8.3.1

        OK Gosman/spray & wipe or cut & run if you prefer. I have found this for you.

        http://www.newshub.co.nz/home/politics/2017/04/truck-co-owner-says-kiwis-won-t-work.html

        So this scumbag employer who doesn’t pay market rates struggles to find truck drivers so makes every excuse under the sun. Pot heads, lazy don’t want to work.

        All bullshit he is the under cutter of the undercutters. He took over a logging truck outfit and tried dropping the drivers wages, and half them went elsewhere.

        Billbot was very lucky he never got clipped around the ear by using this shady prick as an example. And Gower the halfwit who did a lazy job reporting this missed a king hit. Semenoff has been running a migrants camp out of his depot. They live there in some micky mouse shantytown set up. If the media were halfchop in this country they would be all over it and blooding English’s nose.

    • adam 8.4

      Gossy doing a Gosman.

      How delightfully droll.

  9. Cinny 9

    Question please, is there such a thing as a ‘charter’ tertiary education facility, such as a language school that gets government funding?

    Having trouble finding the answer online, wondering if a TS reader knows please and thank you.

    • In Vino 9.1

      Cinny – I think that they are just dodgy private enterprises, so beloved of the right-wingers. If any of them were getting Govt funding, I think that tertiary unions and enlightened educationists would have raised hell about it. I certainly hope so.

      • Cinny 9.1.1

        Thanks In Vino, I hope you are right, something doesn’t sit well with me about the whole issue, am yet to put my finger on it

  10. KJT 10

    National NEED the immigration ponzi scheme to give the illusion of successful economic management.

    However, Labour are also overstating the “benefits” of immigration.

    “Skilled” immigration also allows employers to undercut wages and aviod training our own young people.

    A good case in point is my own first trade. Training and employment opportunities for New Zealanders have been non-existent, for thirty years, while employers have been able to keep it on the skills shortage list. Importing people with some rather dodgy qualifications, at times, to keep wages down.

  11. Karen 11

    Thank you for this Anthony.

    It would be nice if our media checked your post as it seems few have bothered to do their own research.

    • This is why that nice young Gosman is finding it so hard to find answers and keeps having to ask questions on the issue. It just really isn’t fair that decent people like that have to go through hoops just to find the simple facts these days.

  12. Bill 12

    Shut down bogus courses. Problem solved.

    No bogus courses = no people getting ripped off and…oops – no privatisation of education and no stick to beat up on immigrants. Okay. Forget that.

    • Stuart Munro 12.1

      There’s more to it than that unfortunately, this behavior has become deeply embedded.

      Back when I was deepsea fishing I did the tickets required for the next step, deck officer. But employers had found the lucrative exception to NZ labour laws – charters. I was never offered a step and was obliged to work for MAF as an observer. My less educated colleagues mostly committed suicide.

      And all that time employers bleated about a skills shortage.

      • Bill 12.1.1

        Then do we agree the solution lies in identifying those loopholes that exist and closing them off? That such an exercise should be undertaken in the fields of employment as well as education or any other field they are found to exist?

        Seems to me Labour is targeting the effect or symptom rather than the (multiple) causes.

        • WILD KATIPO 12.1.1.1

          Your right , Stuarts right and so are a whole bunch of other Labour party supporters – and now including myself in that number at least til after the election –

          By slashing immigrant numbers to give us all a breather !!!

          • Bill 12.1.1.1.1

            🙂 Straight from UKIP book that one. Slash immigration because we need a breather to get the house in order.

            Balance Net Migration Over Five Years.

            This will still allow us to bring in the key skills we need, while giving a breathing space to public services under immense pressure.

            – UKIP

        • Stuart Munro 12.1.1.2

          My impression is that they are not yet ready to embrace the challenge of responsible left remedial action for the ills of neoliberalism.

          Fully funding universities and prioritizing research and their local role would represent a pretty significant step for a party feeling tender from grueling MSM savaging and electoral defeats. The appearance presented thus far promises more painting over the cracks than structural reform.

          Nevertheless, Little’s pretense is better than English’s reality. Who knows, the Corbyn victory, and respectable press reception of these initial immigration matters may embolden them to the point of joined up policy.

          It would be interesting to see the vociferous pronouncers of race & gender norms directing their supposedly sensitive moral antennae to matters like the institutional exploitation of foreign students or foreign workers. Or local workers!

    • Gristle 12.2

      Much of those low level educational programmes, that deliver foreign students into low paying jobs, are still quite expensive. The are expensive because in reality what is being sold is a NZ citizenship/residency pathway, packaged in a diploma.

      As has been shown numerous times is that being in NZ on some educational scheme is worth points – up to 25% of the amount needed to be able to stay. For this students sign up to some dodgy but expensive PTE.

      This is another example of the commons being privatised: here the commons is the NZ citizenship/residency rights. If its a good idea to sell these things (which I doubt) then it should be the government doing the charging and not some private individual.

      Close the enrichment scheme/loop hole. Use the educational resource to train locals.

  13. The New Student 13

    And National want to give dodgy PTEs like these more public funding, to the detriment of our public Institutions.

    And they also want to reclassify them as Independent Tertiary Establishments. Probably because of the damage inflicted upon the term PTE by these shady operators. That were permitted to flourish under National

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