Immigration New Zealand and Education New Zealand have agreed to an industry and agent engagement programme to grow high-quality student enrolments from the Vietnam market and deter fraud.
This work has been prompted by fraud detected by INZ’s Mumbai office earlier this year which identified instances of fraudulent financial documentation relating to a number of Vietnamese agencies.
INZ assistant general manager Jeannie Melville says there were 47 cases of this specific financial document fraud identified with appropriate action being taken, including cancelling visas and preventing people travelling to New Zealand.
“A number of education agents have been implicated in this fraud,” says Jeannie.
“The students were applying to study to all sectors – schools, PTEs, Institutes of Technology and Polytechnics and Universities.”
ENZ general manager international Lisa Futschek endorses the importance of a joint approach to developing the Vietnam market.
“New Zealand has an important and growing education relationship with Vietnam, and we want to ensure industry and agencies are well informed in developing this education market.”
The two agencies have a range of activities confirmed to support the education industry and agents in attracting quality students from the Vietnam market.
“INZ Mumbai representatives will attend ENZ-organised agent training sessions later this month in Vietnam to discuss the issues and educate local agents or preparing ‘decision-ready’ applications.
“Both agencies will be working with the sector to grow high-quality student enrolments from the Vietnam market, including through a joint industry webinar being held on August 15,” says Lisa.
There has already been an 55 per cent increase in valid student visas from Vietnamese national from June 2013 to June 2019. Growth has been particularly strong in the secondary school and university sectors.
Jeannie says the immigration system is one based on honest and truthful self-declaration from applicants.
“If this obligation of honesty is breached, we will have a zero tolerance to such behaviour and will take decisive action.”
She says the increase in the level of risk and complexity INZ is seeing in applications at a time of growing volumes is having an inevitable impact on processing times.
“Some quality applicants with legitimate intentions are unfortunately getting caught up in the large volumes of low quality applications that require high levels of verification,” says Jeannie.
“But we’re working hard with ENZ and education providers to support more high-quality visa applications from Vietnam and all other markets.”