Tongan overstayers urged to bust scam by coming forward
Immigration New Zealand are urging Tongan overstayers to contact them with information about a visa scam and are promising no repercussions.
The move by INZ came after cases of scammers offering Tongan overstayers visas for cash were reported to the agency. Will Ilolahia , a New Zealand–Tongan community activist, spoke on the Pacific Beat programme aired by Radio Australia, saying that he was pleased to hear the INZ announcement, made during a community meeting last weekend.
Other prominent figures in the Tongan community are happy that both police and immigration officers have made the promise that those who come forward will not be deported. Ilolahia is hoping to organise a meeting with Tongans who may be able to help expose the scammers.
During the broadcast, Ilolahia told his interviewer that assurances had been given by investigating detectives as well as by INZ officials that there would be no action taken on the overstay situation of victims of the scam. He added that police had interviewed suspects, but were still in need of more information in order to close the case.
He said that he is encouraging those affected to be upfront about the situation, saying that if they give information, it will help their position with the authorities. Every community, he added, has its criminals, but the scam is preying on desperate Tongans attempting to get a better life in New Zealand.
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