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Company director sentenced for $100,000 immigration scam

A former company director responsible for a $100,000 immigration scam has been sentenced to home detention and community work at Auckland District Court today (18 October 2013).

Tengyu (Nick) Yuan, of Noahark Consultant Limited, appeared on six counts of providing immigration advice without being licensed or exempt.

The court heard that vulnerable migrants had approached Noahark for immigration advice after reading adverts in Chinese newspapers. Adverts promised specialist help for overstayers, family reunion, work visas and difficult cases.

They met Mr Yuan at his ASB building office in Albert Street, Auckland City or near his Albany home where he made several claims including that:

  • He worked with an immigration officer at Immigration New Zealand (INZ)
  • He was talking to the assistant Minister of Immigration about their case
  • He had a 100% success rate
  • There was a new immigration policy that would allow them to gain a residence visa
  • They would be refunded if the visa application was unsuccessful.

Migrants paid large sums in cash only to find out that Mr Yuan had completed little or no work on their behalf. In total, Mr Yuan was paid more than $103,000 by six migrants.

Mr Yuan, 36, admitted all charges following an investigation led by the Immigration Advisers Authority.

On sentencing, Judge Mathers said: “Some people may consider this as a white collar crime but, as others have said, you are no better than a common criminal.”

Mr Yuan was sentenced to ten months home detention, 300 hours community work and 12 months post-detention conditions to continue for 12 months.

Registrar of Immigration Advisers, Barry Smedts, said: “These migrants trusted Mr Yuan. They trusted his advert, his office and his company. We urge migrants to look closer and check whether the person giving them immigration advice is a licensed immigration adviser or exempt.

Licensed immigration advisers(external link) are trusted professionals and can be found using our website”.

Exempt persons include New Zealand lawyers who can be found at www.lawsociety.org.nz(external link).

By law, under the Immigration Advisers Licensing Act, anyone giving New Zealand immigration advice onshore or offshore must be licensed by the Immigration Advisers Authority.

Notes to editor

The Immigration Advisers Authority was set up to promote and protect the interests of people receiving New Zealand immigration advice.

We do this by:

  • issuing licences to people who are fit and competent to give immigration advice
  • maintaining competency standards and a code of conduct for immigration advisers
  • investigating people giving immigration advice without a licence or exemption
  • receiving complaints from people who have received poor immigration advice.

Under the Immigration Advisers Licensing Act 2007(external link) anyone giving immigration advice must have a licence unless they are exempt. Exempt people include lawyers with a current New Zealand practising certificate and Citizens Advice Bureaux staff among others.

The Authority is independent of Immigration New Zealand and cannot give immigration advice or influence a visa application