A former Labour Party candidate convicted of electoral fraud for registering ineligible voters is facing action for his part in an immigration job-selling scam.
The Immigration Advisers Complaints and Disciplinary Tribunal found Daljit Singh, a senior Sikh leader, was paid offshore to hide the scam.
It noted it had seen “multiple cases” involving suspected job-selling.
The victim, Parminder Gill, said his parents paid $16,000 through Indian bank accounts to Mr Singh and his New Zealand employer for a restaurant job and visa.
But when he arrived he was paid $120 a week, plus food and accommodation, and his employer later reduced even those wages.
Mr Singh was sentenced to five months community detention and 200 hours of community work over the registering of 116 voters in the Otara-Papatoetoe area, where he stood unsuccessfully for the local board in 2010, when they lived in places as far away as Timaru, Tauranga and India.
The Immigration Advisers Complaints and Disciplinary Tribunal upheld the complaints against him that he did not provide his client with written information, invoices and updates.
It said there was a coherent claim by Mr Gill that Mr Singh and the employer “conspired to exploit the complainant, using promises of immigration opportunities, and payments to be made in India”.
It said such scams worked by part of the immigration fee being used to “purchase employment in New Zealand with or without the funds being remitted to New Zealand”.
The parties would then present that employment to Immigration New Zealand as genuine in order to gain visas fraudulently.
“In such cases, there is potential tax evasion, immigration fraud, breach of employment laws, and human trafficking issues.”
Mr Gill later applied for residence as a restaurant manager but Immigration New Zealand refused, finding the business was not financially sustainable.
It noted such cases were difficult to prove in criminal courts but it had a lower burden of proof.
“Was I to be deciding this complaint treating the complainant as having an onus of proof, the adviser enjoying a right to silence, with beyond reasonable doubt as the standard of proof; Mr Singh could have confidence I could not find he was a party to soliciting and receiving fees of $16,000 for his services, paid indirectly.
“However, he is not in that position. In these circumstances it is consistent with the allegation that he required fees to be paid offshore and colluded with employers to manufacture immigration opportunities.
“Mr Singh says it was difficult to communicate in writing with his client. Had he made proper inquiries regarding the reasons for that, he would likely have discovered that this was related to him being exploited by the employer.
“Where a migrant in a managerial position has no internet access and cannot readily receive letters, is an issue that ought to trigger concern and meaningful inquiries; it is an unusual situation in New Zealand.”
Mr Singh has already lost his adviser licence and faces a possible fine, costs and reparations when the tribunal decides on what sanctions to impose.