INDEPENDENT NEWS

Six Unlawful Migrants Located By Compliance Officers

Published: Fri 31 May 2024 10:09 AM
Six Indonesian nationals who were in New Zealand unlawfully, including one who had been in New Zealand for more than a decade, have been located in Auckland.
On 27 May, Immigration Compliance officers located the unlawful migrants following an investigation after the individuals failed to depart New Zealand in accordance with their visa requirements.
The individual who overstayed their visa the longest arrived in New Zealand in 2013 on a 12-day Limited Visa to attend a business symposium in New Zealand.
Three individuals arrived between 2018 and 2022 on Visitor Visas. Another arrived in 2022 with a Maritime Crew visa to allow him to join a vessel in New Zealand as a crew member.
The sixth individual absconded from a maritime vessel in 2023 when it paid a scheduled visit to New Zealand.
When interviewed by Compliance Officers, the six migrants acknowledged that they were aware they did not hold valid visas and had failed to depart New Zealand or regularise their immigration status. The individuals will remain in immigration custody until their deportation takes place. Immigration New Zealand (INZ) will make the necessary travel arrangements and ensure they depart safely from New Zealand to their home countries.
Steve Watson, General Manager Immigration Compliance and Investigations, says the legal obligation to leave New Zealand before a temporary visa expires is clearly communicated on visas.
“Temporary visa holders must ensure that their visa is current. People who overstay their visa are expected to leave New Zealand. Wherever possible, we contact people who overstay their visas through texting, email and – if they fail to depart – Compliance staff may undertake enquiries and if there are no special circumstances to consider, will locate and deport them.
“When someone is unlawfully in New Zealand, we know it’s harder for them to legally engage in society and this means they can be vulnerable to exploitation. Employers are also committing an offence by employing unlawful migrants.”
These individuals all indicated to Immigration Compliance officers that they were undertaking casual work in Auckland, including work in the construction sector.
Immigration Compliance and Investigations is now making inquiries into who may have employed these individuals. As of mid-April this year, Immigration can issue employers with infringement notices if they employ migrants in breach of their work-related visa conditions, or who are not able to work in New Zealand.
Employers who have been issued with an infringement will be required to pay a fine, will be stood down and published on a public standdown list removing their ability to support visas for migrant workers, and have their accreditation revoked or Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) status rescinded.
An employer can also be issued an infringement notice for failing to provide INZ with relevant documents relating to their employment of migrant workers.
“This Infringement Scheme is in place to ensure we have the necessary tools to combat exploitation and deter employers from taking advantage of migrant workers,” Mr Watson says.
“The scheme will hold more employers accountable for breaking immigration law, deter other employers from breaking immigration law, and create a fair and level playing field for all employers in New Zealand.”

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