An interesting article recently appeared in the New Zealand Herald on 17 August 2015. Some clever investigatory journalism uncovered the fact that an Immigration New Zealand official who had been based at Auckland International Airport had lost his job after having been found to be caught up in a corruption scandal.
It appears the immigration officer concerned had taken money from some trusting would-be migrants, in exchange for promises of Visa applications being approved. More than $26,500 was paid. However as explained in the article, the situation unravelled when the applications were declined and the applicants approached the crooked immigration officer to demand their money back.
“Back-room” promises of Visas in exchange for cash is one of the oldest immigration-scams in the book. Similar cases involving particular Licensed Immigration Advisers have arisen. It does appear there are vulnerable people out there who will do and pay anything to have the chance to be in New Zealand and sadly there are some who will take advantage of this.
My overall experience with Immigration New Zealand is that they are doing the best job they can with the resources they have available. It is unfortunate when an individual immigration officer behaves dishonestly so that the entire immigration system is brought into disrepute.
However in the circumstances clearly we should ask for better, which is why it is important that the matter continues to be investigated by the Serious Fraud Office. The New Zealand public service does seem to retain a high level of trust from most New Zealanders and as noted in the New Zealand Herald article, New Zealand has very low levels of corruption and bribery. As a private citizen I would certainly like to see that this standard be maintained.
This post is commentary on the article written by Jared Savage available on the NZ Herald website.