7 Aug 2008

Permits now expired for missing pilgrims

12:30 pm on 7 August 2008

Seventeen Indians who went missing in New Zealand while en route to World Youth Day celebrations in Sydney, are now considered to be in New Zealand unlawfully.

The Department of Labour says their visitor permits expired at midnight on Wednesday. Permits for the remaining 18 expire on Thursday night.

The department says eight of the 35 have already applied for student visas and three have applied for extensions to their visitor permits.

Those with expired permits now have 42 days to apply to stay in New Zealand.

A spokesman says the department knows 20 of them are in Hawke's Bay and the Bay of Plenty, and it is seeking information about the whereabouts of the rest.