22 Feb 2013

Delayed Tongan RSE workers fly to New Zealand after more police checks

11:26 am on 22 February 2013

Tongan government officials are not anticipating any further hold-ups with workers going to New Zealand under the seasonal employment scheme after a group of 36 was delayed for several days this week.

That group flew to New Zealand last night, with additional workers due as scheduled today, on Monday and Wednesday.

The delay followed concerns over the integrity of the visa process after revelations dozens of Tongans had had their police records wiped clean in the ten years from 2001.

The deputy chief executive of employment in Tonga's Internal Affairs Ministry, Meleoni Uera, says the workers had to have their police records re-checked.

She says everything was in order and further delays are not expected.

"I think there is a clear understanding between our Ministry and the New Zealand Immigration and the Ministry of Police through the Commissioner and even with the employers where we are already alerting them about how we have to all work together to just make sure that we ensure that the police records are indeed correct."