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May 19, 2008 | by  | in News |
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Job scam targets Chinese grads at Unitec

Unitec’s Career and Employment Centre is warning international students to be on their guard following reports that an employment scam has been targeting Chinese students at Auckland’s Mt Albert campus.

The scam is operated by Graduate House, a recruitment company that promises Chinese graduates their dream job – only to charge them $12,000 for it. The company operates by offering $10,000 “training grants” to any employer willing to take on an international graduate for work experience, while advertising jobs to students with salaries of $30,000-plus.

The company has also been canvassing the campus with unauthorised flyers and placed a listing at Unitec’s Career and Employment Centre, although staff say the listing has now been removed.

Bachelor of Business graduate Andy Chu says he first learnt of the company through an advertisement on a message board at Unitec for marketing staff, promising $25 an hour. “I rang them, and they said to come to an interview. I was so happy because it was $25 an hour, it was marketing-related, and I thought it would be good for my career development.”

The part-time job was to obtain the contact details of Chinese graduates who had yet to gain permanent residency status. Chu was given brochures to distribute in Chinese restaurants at the Mount Albert shops and placed recruitment advertisements on the Unitec career and employment website. Within a day, he had received more than 30 emails and several phone calls.

Alarm bells began to ring when he told a friend the name of his new employer: “My friend had heard something bad about the business, that it was doing something dodgy. I thought he was jealous, but I was still a little anxious.” Chu ran a Google search for the company and discovered a Sunday Star Times article from November reporting that the company was offering money for jobs.

The article also reported that the director of the company operating Graduate House is blacklisted by the Chinese Ministry of Commerce, while Sunday News has since revealed that Graduate House’s assistant manager Michael Knight served eighteen months for fraud and deception in 2005.

The brochures contain advertisements for positions such as a website developer and programmer with a salary of $41,000 and an administration assistant for $37,000. Chu describes these advertised jobs as “bait,” with no closing date, and no expiry date for the brochures.

The brochure, in Mandarin, promises to “make your dream come true” and find the “most satisfying work for you for a reasonable cost.” Candidates do not pay any fees until they have been placed in a position, after which the cost is $12,000, according to Chu. “They want work and permanent residency so it’s worth it to them.”

Complaints were lodged with New Zealand Immigration and the Department of Labour following the Sunday Star Times’ report in November, however Graduate House has yet to be prosecuted. Graduate House did not respond to requests for more information.

Career and Employment Centre co-ordinator Yolanda Van Den Bemd says international students should always “do their research” on potential employers. “If possible, do an informational interview with someone who works there – ask questions about the work, the field or sector and the organisation.”

Suggested questions and information sheets can also be found at www.careeremploy. unitec.ac.nz

With reporting by Rory MacKinnon

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Comments (3)

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  1. s says:

    graduate house is still operating at the moment. one more day it operate, more change the international students will be cheated

  2. Linton Palmer says:

    This guy is back running a number of scams that are not too dis-similar.
    He’s behind a company called Asiantradelink Ltd ( the director Nicholas Wood doesn’t seem to exist).
    He claims to be representing chinese investors and immigrants wanting to buy profitable business’s or representing NZ business’s in the Chinese export Market and then using his representation agreement to scam thousands of dollars off business’s by way of translation charges.
    We just got away by the skin of our teeth however I know others haven’t been so lucky.

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