Home detention for interpreter Nurul Noor Azman, convicted of fabricating false refugee claims

An interpreter who fabricated refugee claims for migrant workers has been sentenced to 11 months’ home detention.

Nurul Noor Azman, who was on a working holiday visa and working as an interpreter at an Auckland law firm, was found guilty of supplying false information in five cases involving horticultural workers.

Azman charged workers up to $600 each to create the fake applications.

Immigration investigations national manager Jason Perry described it as “cynical and devious behaviour” – a planned attempt to manipulate the immigration system and make herself extra money.

“Filing, and supporting the filing of, fraudulent refugee claims is an egregious abuse of the immigration system and it diverts time and effort away from processing valid refugee claims,” he said.

The offending was discovered in 2020 after an immigration operation at kiwifruit orchards in Bay of Plenty. The fake asylum claims were some of more than 150 made by a group of Indonesian and Malaysian migrants.

Investigators found similarities in 158 asylum claims, where migrant workers were being encouraged to falsely claim refugee status to obtain work visas while their claims were being considered.

Most claimed they were in danger from loan sharks or gangsters and some had used identical wording to outline their claim. They all lived in the same city, had the same legal representative and some lived at the same address.

Immigration officials said they noticed striking similarities between the cases which prosecutors described as a “web of lies”.

The Immigration and Protection Tribunal, which heard appeals in some cases turned down by refugee officers, ruled the migrants were motivated by earning money here rather than because of fear of returning to their home country.

Following Azman’s trial at Auckland District Court in 2022, Immigration New Zealand said Azman manipulated migrants and the system when she helped five people to make up stories about persecution, threats and violence. There was no suggestion she was involved in the wider number of migrants who lodged false claims.

The government is looking at how it can cut down on the number of asylum seekers – saying too many of them are making false claims.

Immigration Minister Erica Stanford said the government was looking at how to deal with the growth in asylum claims, which rose from 780 in the past financial year to 1336 in just the first seven months of this one.

According to the news on Radio New Zealand

Related News

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button