9 Sep 2008

New Zealand officials wanting help to find missing I-Kiribati workers

2:13 pm on 9 September 2008

The New Zealand Labour department is appealing for the public's help to find 13 I-Kiribati workers who have broken the terms of their visas and are in hiding.

The workers came to New Zealand under the Recognised Seasonal Employer scheme.

The first year of the scheme is considered by most to have been generally successful, but there have been some difficulties, such as the group of I-Kiribati which has disappeared.

The department's group manager for immigration policy, Lesley Haines, says they are trying to find these people.

"There're 13 people from Kiribati who were here as RSE workers and who are no longer employed as RSE workers, but who have not left the country. We're working with communities and with various information we have. We encourage these workers to depart New Zealand voluntarily. People removed involuntarily are subject to re-entry bans of five years."

Lesley Haines says the I-Kiribati workers could also face entry bans from other countries.