Department of Labour: Management of immigration identity fraud.

Immigration plays an important part in New Zealand’s economic growth by providing skills and resources required by the labour market. It also helps fulfil our international humanitarian obligations through the resettlement of refugees. The Department of Labour (the Department) is the government department responsible for ensuring that New Zealand attracts and retains skilled migrants, and assists refugees to resettle. The Department is also responsible for maintaining the security of the country’s borders through preventing the entry of those without the appropriate authority and detecting and removing people who have entered fraudulently.

I carried out a performance audit to assess the effectiveness of the Department’s systems, processes, and procedures for the prevention, detection, and investigation of people who seek to enter New Zealand with a false identity as skilled migrants or United Nations quota refugees. I expected that the Department would have comprehensive, robust, and targeted systems, processes, and procedures for the prevention, detection, and investigation of immigration identity fraud.

I found that the Department has systems, processes, procedures, and relationships with relevant external agencies in place for the prevention, detection, and investigation of identity fraud within the skilled migrant and United Nations quota refugee entry categories. However, I noted several areas where improvements need to be made. These include the need to identify immigration fraud risks, and to prepare strategies and plans to address those risks. Training and guidance specifically for staff involved with detecting fraud should be introduced, and systems improved to provide more effective support for staff in their roles, especially in relation to fraud investigation where there is a significant backlog of cases. The Department should also regularly evaluate the effectiveness of its prevention, detection, and investigation activities.

I intend to maintain a watching brief on the Department’s management of immigration identity fraud, and will observe with interest the progress of the implementation of the Government’s immigration change programme, which will affect the Department’s systems, processes and procedures for managing immigration identity fraud in the future.

My performance audit involved many staff in the Department and stakeholders. I thank them all for their co-operation during the audit.


K B Brady
Controller and Auditor-General

21 June 2007

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