Tongan woman arrested for immigration scam
A Tongan national has pleaded guilty in court to being involved with a widespread immigration scam involving Tongans moving to New Zealand. Khadijah Lolohea admitted that she had been giving out advice on how to migrate to the country without having a license to do so.
The 38-year-old has been charged with nine offences by the Immigration Advisor’s Authority. Barry Smedts, the Authority’s Registrar, said that obtaining a guilty plea was a significant victory in the fight against illegal immigration to New Zealand.
He added that victims of the scam had come forward on the trust that they would not be deported or risk having their visa applications denied.
Lolohea is due to be sentenced by the court on 23 May. Immigration officials are currently hunting Tongan nationals who were allowed into New Zealand after having their criminal records erased.
It is illegal to enter the country without declaring a criminal conviction and those who have a criminal past face being deported. Grant O’Fee, Tonga’s Police Commissioner, confirmed that police records had been cleansed. Officials in Tonga and New Zealand are working together to track down those Tongans who may have arrived in New Zealand illegally.
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