Protect yourself from immigration scams

Immigration scams to watch out for, and how to protect yourself from these scams and visa fraud.

Immigration scams webpage in other languages

If you are planning on getting a visa to come to New Zealand, watch out for people who may scam you to steal your money or sign you up with jobs that are not what they promise.

Below are scams to check for and steps you can take to help protect yourself from scams or visa fraud.

If you are already working in New Zealand, and think you are being exploited, do not be afraid to ask Immigration New Zealand (INZ) for help. We and Employment New Zealand can help you, and take action if needed.

Migrant worker exploitation

Check for signs of a scam

If you see these signs of a scam, stop and take extra precautions. Ask questions and seek official advice. You can talk to us about your concerns.

Contact us

You are asked to pay for your job 

Watch out if you are asked to pay fees for your job, sometimes called  'processing' or 'placement' fees.

New Zealand employers cannot charge you fees for a job or make you pay any of their recruitment costs. This includes indirectly through a third party who then demands you pay them.

If you are using:

  • a recruitment agency, be wary about any high fees they want to charge you directly. Any charges from a recruitment agency should reflect the service they provide you.
  • an immigration adviser, you will need to pay a fair price for their services.

Immigration New Zealand only charges you an application fee. You may need to pay for costs when gathering evidence for your application, such as completing a medical.

Getting application priority and access to immigration officers

With this scam, your adviser, agent, consultant or other third party say they can use their connections to guarantee an outcome or faster decision.

You are not required to use an adviser. Immigration New Zealand:

  • will not prioritise your application because you use an adviser, and
  • only decides applications by assessing the information it has against immigration rules.

You are asked to lie

It is illegal to lie in order to qualify for a job or a visa.

Your adviser or other third party is breaking the law if they advise you to do this. It is a sign they may break other immigration or employment laws.

It is important that the information you provide is true. Any false statements you make will affect your current and future visa applications.

You are told you do not have the same minimum employment rights as a New Zealander

This is not true. Everyone in New Zealand has the same minimum employment rights, including migrants. This includes the right to paid holidays and sick leave, and the right to complain about unsafe work practices.

People who say you do not may be breaking immigration or employment laws.

Minimum employment rights – Employment New Zealand

You are offered a package deal with accommodation

It is not common to have accommodation provided with a job in New Zealand.

Only in some situations, like working on a farm or for an accommodation provider, does this make sense.

Be wary about ‘package’ offers with a visa, job and accommodation – scammers may try to charge you excessive amounts for accommodation.

You are promised residence

New Zealand provides fantastic opportunities to study and work. A temporary visa will allow you to enjoy these opportunities, but there are no guarantees this will lead to residence.

Scammers often overstate how likely residence is, so be aware as pathways to residence require certain skills, experience, qualifications or occupations.

Promises on future earnings, house buying, or accessing government support

You should decide to move here based on what you are offered, not on future promises that may not be kept.

In general, you cannot buy a house or access government financial support unless you hold a residence visa. You cannot take on additional jobs to earn extra money.

You are told you must use an adviser

You are not required to use an adviser to apply for a visa. You can apply for a visa on your own using information on our website.

If you choose to use an adviser, only use a licensed immigration adviser (LIA), a certified New Zealand lawyer, or someone else legally able to provide immigration advice. You can choose LIAs based on your language, location and budget. 

Immigration advice for your visa application

You are not getting application updates

If your adviser or third party is not giving you an update on your application, you can go to our website to find out how long it takes to process applications.

If you are concerned because you are not receiving information, you can call us directly to verify the application.

How long it takes to process an application

Ways to protect yourself from scams

  • You are not required to use an adviser. If you choose to use an adviser, only use a licensed immigration adviser, a certified New Zealand lawyer, or someone else legally able to provide immigration advice. 
    Immigration advice for your visa application
  • If you choose to use an adviser or recruitment agency, it is a good idea to check prices from different ones, so you know you are receiving a fair price for their services.
  • Confirm your potential employer is accredited. All employers hiring workers on an Accredited Employer Work Visa must be accredited first. Confirm they are using our online tool.
    Check if an employer is accredited
  • Speak to your potential employer directly, such as through an interview. Moving countries is a big commitment, so be honest about your skills to make sure you are a good fit.
  • If you have doubts, contact us. We can help explain your visa options and whether the information you are told by someone is accurate or realistic. We can provide you with information about your application. If English is not your first language, we can connect you to an interpreter.
    New Zealand visa options
  • If you can, do further research by asking people from your country who have made the same journey to New Zealand.
  • If your employer is providing accommodation, ask for photos and go onto the Tenancy Services website and compare market rents for the property type in that area and learn about your rights as a tenant.
    Compare market rents
    Learn about your rights as a tenant
  • Be informed about New Zealand, including the cost of living and access to healthcare. Our Live and Work website has useful information.
    Live and Work New Zealand
  • Learn about your employment rights as a New Zealand worker. The Employment New Zealand website has helpful information in several languages, and a free learning module on minimum rights, responsibilities and working out employment problems.
    Minimum rights of employees

Resources for organisations working with migrants

If you are working with people planning to study, work or live in New Zealand, use our social media pack to help them identify possible immigration scams or fraud.

These resources are available in English and other languages.

Protection against immigration scams social media packs