A Chinese woman is starting a 26-month prison term for immigration fraud.

Yunjuan Li was sentenced at the Christchurch District Court after pleading guilty to six charges of supplying false or misleading information to an immigration officer.

She also pleaded guilty to a representative charge of producing a passport knowing it to have been fraudulently obtained.

"Over a period of years, Yunjuan Li successfully duped a number of people and organisations into believing she was someone else," said Peter Devoy, Immigration NZ (INZ) assistant general manager.


After being declined a visa to New Zealand, Li enlisted the assistance of an international travel agency to change the identity of her and her 18-year-old son, obtaining fraudulent Chinese passports for both of them.

Under her new identity, Li was approved a visitor visa in 2005 and went on to marry a New Zealander the following year.

She was granted residency under her false identity in 2011.

She was arrested last year after an investigation by INZ revealed the full extent of her offending.

"INZ will not stand by while people commit immigration fraud," said Mr Devoy. "The message is clear - we will find you and take you to court."

INZ is reviewing Li's liability for deportation, he said.

Her now 30-year-old son, Bao Li, was sentenced to 300 hours of community work and placed under a community detention order for his offending.