The Ministry of Social Development is investigating why 12 people who received a $3000 grant to relocate to Christchurch did not turn up for work.
A Ministry spokesperson says unless there's a very good reason, those recipients will be required to repay the money or face prosecution if there's evidence of fraud.
The '3K to Christchurch grant' was launched this year, as an incentive for beneficiaries to find work in the city. Some 157 people have so far taken it up.
To receive the grant, a person must have a confirmed full-time job offer in the Christchurch area, and be ready and willing to move there.
A week after the grants were launched at the beginning of July, Social Development Minister Paula Bennett said 40 men and 10 women had gone off a benefit and into work in Christchurch under the scheme.
She said they had been employed in a range of industries including construction, transport, healthcare and retail.
At 25 June 2014, there just under 1000 vacancies in the Christchurch region being managed by Work and Income.
The $3.5 million scheme was intended to fund 1000 workers.