New Zealand immigration looking for 33 Indian “pilgrims”
October 2, 2008
WELLINGTON (AFP) New Zealand immigration admitted Friday it had lost track of 33 illegal immigrants from India who arrived in July, claiming to be Catholic pilgrims on their way to World Youth Day in Australia.
Of the original group of 40, seven had been found and deported, but the rest were missing, immigration officials said.
Members of the group claimed they had paid the equivalent of 11,200 US dollars to an agent in India who organised their travel and told them they could stay in New Zealand permanently.
But when they arrived in New Zealand, claiming to be on their way for World Youth Day Celebrations lead by Pope Benedict XVI, they were issued with visitors' visas for one month.
A spokesman for New Zealand's Department of Labour said the number of missing Indian pilgrims was now 33.
“We're keeping an eye out,” he said.
“When we locate them, we will remove them.”