UK 'people smuggler' refused NZ visa
September 10, 2010
A 29-year-old Englishman who was said to have been involved in “people-smuggling” has had his application for residence in New Zealand turned down by the Minister of Immigration.
The man, who has not been named, persistently lied to immigration officials about having been refused entry to the United States in 2004 because of alleged people-smuggling.
He is said to have sold his passport for $500 to one of three illegal Sri Lankans who wanted to go to the United States.
When the Immigration Service finally got wind of the man's alleged activities, it declined his application for residence in New Zealand.
In a recent ruling the Residence Review Board said that the Immigration Service was correct to decline his application.
However, it acknowledged that sending the man back to England would rip apart his family ties in New Zealand where he now has a New Zealand wife and child, as well as two teenage stepchildren.
His mother and sister also live in the country.
The board put the final decision in the hands of the minister who has now ruled against granting residence.
Board members noted that the Labour Department, which is responsible for immigration, viewed people-smuggling as a growing global phenomenon which was considered “an extreme violation of human rights and a contemporary form of slavery”.
The man failed to make any mention of having been refused entry to the US, as he was required to do.
When asked about the matter, he claimed he had made a genuine mistake in not ticking the appropriate box.
He said in a letter to the department in July 2008 that he had been the victim of identity theft, but the issue had been resolved with US authorities.
He said at that time that he had been stopped at Los Angeles airport in 2004 by US authorities who refused to let him enter because his passport had been “duplicated” in Bangkok after he lost it and had to be issued with a new one.
However, the Immigration Service continued toinvestigate and was supplied with a transcript of the man's interview with the US Department of Homeland Security.
He is quoted as saying that he sold his passport to one of three Sri Lankans.