Immigration NZ staff investigated for corruption and fraud after visas issued to family, friends

Immigration New Zealand officials are being investigated for granting visas and residency to family and friends, a Herald investigation has found.

The agency confirmed that four have been dismissed and two had resigned while under investigation for conflicts of interest.

INZ received 208 allegations of staff fraud and corruption over the past five years, of which 48 were substantiated. Ten investigations are under way.

The Herald understands some visa officers had issued visas to family members and friends, including one senior official who had allegedly instructed staff to approve a residence visa for her partner.

Acting general manager Peter Elms said the agency received 53 allegations relating to staff fraud, corruption and dishonesty this year.

This was up from 23 allegations last year and 34 in the 2014/15 year.

“A total of 43 investigations have been completed with seven cases substantiated, the remaining 10 allegations are still being investigated,” Elms said.

“Five of the seven substantiated cases had conflict of interest elements to them involving personal associations with clients, family and extended family members.”

Elms said the allegations ranged from “comparatively minor breaches to very serious ones”.

Of the substantiated allegations, four staff faced dismissals and others were issued warnings.

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