4 Sep 2009

Somali immigration fraudster avoids jail

3:28 pm on 4 September 2009

Somali woman who committed immigration fraud in an attempt to bring her family to New Zealand is beginning a term of home detention after admitting 12 charges of fraud.

Farhiyo Igal, 29, was sentenced in Wellington District Court on Friday.

Igal arrived in New Zealand in 1993 to join her uncle and his family, as her family were believed to have perished in Somalia's civil war.

She later discovered they were still alive and they put pressure on her to bring them to New Zealand.

After destroying her passport on a trip home from Australia in 2001, Igal was granted refugee status under an assumed name and used that to arrange New Zealand visas for her family.

The Immigration Department sought a jail sentence, but Judge Bruce Davidson sentenced Igal to five months' home detention and 150 hours' community work, saying the case was unique and she had been under huge pressure.