8 Sep 2011

NZ immigration authority warns Pacific Islanders of visa scams

5:54 pm on 8 September 2011

The New Zealand government body set up to take complaints about licensed immigration advisers and investigate unlicensed operators is using the Rugby World Cup to launch a campaign warning Pacific Islanders of visa scams.

The Bad Advice Wrecks Lives campaign is targeted at people from Samoa, Tonga and Fiji, and flyers will be distributed at world cup venues before matches involving those countries.

The Immigration Advisers Authority's registrar says it's aiming to highlight the need for people to use licensed immigration advisers.

But Barry Smedts says it's keen to hear from people who have been subject to a scam or received bad advice, regardless of whether they've used a licensed adviser or not.

"These people are likely to be in a overstayer-type situation so their visa status may mean that they're not here legally. Basically we just want to tell these people come and see us anyway, we will not be sharing this information with Immigration New Zealand, all we're interested in is ensuring that migrants are protected."

The Immigration Advisers Authority's Barry Smedts.