Criminal records of NZ visa applicants wiped
Officials in New Zealand are concerned after it has been revealed that Tongan police willingly wiped the criminal records of people who were trying to obtain New Zealand visas. Grant O’Fee, Tonga’s Police Commissioner, said a number of unknown people had been given clean criminal records even though they had been convicted of serious crimes such as manslaughter.
Alan Barry, Pacific regional manager at Immigration New Zealand, said the government was now working closely with the authorities in Tonga to try and identify the people who may have been issued a visa after having their criminal records doctored.
He added that any individual who had entered New Zealand illegally by not declaring a criminal past faced deportation and a ban from returning. O’Fee said he was currently aware of at least 33 incidences in which people had been granted visas after being given a clean record.
Although the assumption is that the letters written by the police were to support visas applications some of the letters could have been used to get jobs. O’Fee said the letters were written deliberately and not just a clerical mistake.
The letters were written between 2005 and 2008 and O’Fee said he was not ruling out prosecution of the officers involved.
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