Department of Labour: Management of immigration identity fraud

Performance audits from 2007: Follow-up report.

The Department of Labour (the Department) ensures that New Zealand attracts and retains skilled migrants, and assists refugees to settle.

The Department also contributes to border security by preventing the entry of those without the appropriate authority and detecting and removing people who have entered fraudulently.

The scope of our audit

We carried out a performance audit focusing on how the Department handles people seeking to enter New Zealand with a false identity, within the entry categories for skilled migrants and United Nations quota refugees (UN-quota refugees).

Specifically, we examined the Department’s systems, processes, and procedures for preventing, detecting, and investigating immigration identity fraud.

We did not examine any other types of immigration fraud – such as false qualifications, false job and false marriage offers, or fraud committed by international students, Department employees, or third parties such as immigration consultants.

Our findings

The Department had systems, processes, procedures, and relationships with relevant external agencies, for preventing, detecting, and investigating identity fraud within the entry categories for skilled migrants and United Nations quota refugees.

However, several areas could be improved. One was the need to identify and monitor risks specific to immigration fraud, and prepare strategies and plans to address those risks. Another was the need to introduce specific training and guidance for staff involved with detecting fraud. We also concluded that more effective support systems were needed for staff, especially for investigating fraud (where there was a significant backlog of cases).

The Department also needed to collect better data and improve evaluation processes so it learns lessons from its existing prevention, detection, and investigation activities.

We made 15 recommendations for change, covering risk management, staff training, amendments to plans and procedures, and evaluation of the Department’s immigration identity fraud activities.

The response to our findings and recommendations

After our audit findings were released, the then Minister for Immigration announced that all our report recommendations would be put in place, and that the gaps would be closed to his satisfaction.

Since our report’s release, we have met regularly with Department officials to discuss progress, and the Department has established a project management team to fully carry out our recommendations.

The Department posted progress updates regularly on its website, and its October 2008 update stated the Department had implemented all 15 of our report’s recommendations.

During our audit, the Auditor-General said he intended to continue watching how the Department managed immigration identity fraud, and that he would observe with interest progress to implement the Government’s immigration change programme. This change programme would affect the Department’s systems, processes, and procedures for managing immigration identity fraud in the future.

<< previous | next >>

page top