Tongan Nationals on “wrongly wiped convictions” tracked down

Immigration New Zealand (INZ) is taking all possible action to identify the 48 Tongan Nationals it believes they are in the country on a “wrongly wiped convictions” on the list of 172 names provided by the Tongan authorities.

General Manager of INZ, Stephen Dunstan told NZKaniva that, “Three Tongans who were unlawfully in New Zealand have already returned home after being located by INZ Fraud and Compliance officers”.

Out of the 48 immigrants 9 said to be in New Zealand unlawfully and INZ is in the process of tracking them down.

Dunstan said the “remaining 39 appear to be” currently in New Zealand either on resident or temporary visas.

These cases are carefully assessed case by case taking into consideration their “merits and all relevant factors are taken into account before a decision is made,” he said.

“The majority of the 48 on the list who are in New Zealand do not appear to have committed serious crimes, but it is not possible at this stage to be more specific.”

The list of 172 criminals provided by the Tongans authority has been analysed by INZ but there is still more works to do as in some cases “dates of birth have not been provided”

Those individuals that INZ have enough certainty about their identities are being placed on “Immigration Alerts”.

Last month an investigation by INZ was triggered by a revelation that Tongan police faked letters to New Zealand immigration authorities declaring that some Tongan nationals had clean criminal records even they have been convicted for serious crimes, including manslaughter.

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