NZ immigration officials probe passport scam
The New Zealand Immigration Advisors Authority (IAA) has launched a probe into a recently discovered passport scam.
As a result of an investigation by ONE News, the illegal scheme was revealed to be aimed at family members desperate to gain residency permits. Several of those hit by the scheme have come forward and are assisting the police and the IAA with their enquiries.
A Tongan immigrant, known only as Uvea, became a victim of the scam when it was presented to her by Kolini Vaka as a way to get her overstayer father a residency permit. Her father was unable to receive treatment for his cancer as non-residents must pay for treatment before it is given.
On learning of the residency offer, Uvea and her family gave all their money to Vaka and received nothing in return. The family is now destitute and desperate and Uvea’s father is not yet receiving treatment for his life-threatening illness.
According to a spokesperson for the IAA, they were aware in May that the scam was in operation, but had not found anyone willing to come forward as a witness. Registrar Barry Smedt is encouraging more victims to come forward either to the police or the independent IAA and is reassuring victims that their details will not be reported to the immigration authorities.
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