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$203,000 Visa Fraud: Vietnamese Migrants Stuck In Auckland

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As many as 16 Vietnamese migrants reportedly paid $203,000 to secure jobs in New Zealand only to realise the good life promised was an illusion once they arrived onshore.  

According to spokesperson Sky Duong, the group was recruited via Facebook to work for Do Painters Limited on a $50 per hour wage, NZ Herald reported on February 23. Each migrant reportedly paid $35,000, with an additional $15,000 for those with spouses and children, to secure the job offer. An agent referred by the company supported their work visa applications.

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Jason Perry, Acting National Manager of Immigration Investigations, stated the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) is aware of the alleged immigration concerns and is in contact with a representative for the migrants. 

The director of Do Painters Limited, Tu Dinh Do, told NZ Herald the group paid agents in Vietnam but denied personally receiving any money. He clarified that the payments were for immigration agent services, legal fees, and visa application charges.

Duong pointed out the migrants, who are not fluent in English, hail from the small fishing village of Dam Mon in the Vietnamese Khanh Hoa Province. Despite their efforts, the group claims to have received no work, pay, or employment contracts since arriving in New Zealand two to four months ago. INZ approved their 36-month work visas with specific conditions, restricting them to work in Auckland for Do Painters Limited and a minimum hourly wage of $29.66.

Duong is currently providing temporary accommodation for the group in Papatoetoe, with up to six people sharing a room due to financial constraints. She stated that the living arrangement was meant to be temporary, but the group is struggling to find work or even afford food.

The migrants are now seeking reimbursement from Do Painters or open work visas to secure employment and gradually pay off their debts. Do Painters' director, Do, claimed that he was unaware of their arrival and asserted that the sponsored workers were given employment contracts, submitted with their visa applications.

Do maintained his company operates legally, sponsors five members of the group, and employs 54 staff with an annual turnover exceeding one million dollars. He mentioned the provision of employment contracts submitted with visa applications and denied allegations of asking workers to pay their own PAYE.

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