24 Jun 2009

Immigration NZ criticised for treatment of Pacific Islanders

8:24 pm on 24 June 2009

A South Auckland community worker has criticised Immigration New Zealand officials for failing Pacific Island overstayers who are forced into living a life in hiding and in fear.

Joanna Fuimaono of Awhetu Social Charitable Trust says the problem of overstayers isn't new.

But says its been highlighted again due to the court case involving Maori activist Gerard Otimi who is accused of selling fake visas to overstayers.

She says she helps many Pacific people who are regularly changing jobs and shifting addresses in order to stay but have now run out of options and are desperate for help as Immigration NZ has failed them.

"There's inconsistency. They don't have a process for grievences. So there needs to be more training of customer services. There needs to be more understanding of people and their whole background."

Awhetu Social Charitable Trust's Joanna Fuimaono