Monday, August 22, 2011

[pima.nius] Tongan overstayers in NZ warned of visa scam

11:25 AM |

Tongan overstayers in NZ warned of visa scam

Updated August 22, 2011 17:20:55

Tongans who have overstayed their visa in New Zealand are being warned about a new scam to con them out of their money.

The scammers build trust by talking about religion with their victims before promising to arrange permanent visas in exchange for payment.

It's the latest in a long list of ploys targeting the 3000 Tongans living illegally in New Zealand.

Melino Maka the chair of New Zealand's Tonga Advisory Council told Cameron Wilson, it's disappointing that scammers continue to target vulnerable people.

Presenter: Cameron Wilson
Speaker: Melino Maka, the chair of New Zealand's Tonga Advisory Council

MAKA: It's nothing new, I think as you mostly said right through the last couple of years, it's always been scammed by people who actually targeted, people who actually overstayed their permit here in this country. And the latest one appeared to be more quite innovative as a man and a woman seems to be identified people who already been here overstay and they start to approach, find the use of religion as their entry point and from there, they start to develop a trust between them and the person who overstays here and from there, they start getting information about their status here and then they start throwing out the bait, this has always been trying to take advantage in terms of money to gain permanent resident here in this country and it's really, really sad to see people who are retired and vulnerable people like that.

WILSON: When you say they're using religion the people in this instance. What do you mean? How are they using religion?

MAKA: They approach and then they talk about then when the overstaying, this particular case in South Auckland, identifying themselves at this very delegated in terms of the religion and from there, the conversation shifts to be a more compassion and care about their well being and as they disclose their information and then the bait starts coming out in terms of, but it's mainly targeted to really get money out of them.

WILSON: Do you know what sort of amounts they're looking for?

MAKA: It varies, but from the past history range from $500 to up to $3,000.

WILSON: Do you know if it's widespread this latest scam?

MAKA: This particular case that we've been trying to identify the family, but this once you actually get out in the media, they just go underground and what we really wanted to do is trying to help them, to have a look at their status. It's often was a problem from the past as I don't know whether you know there's a new rules and regulation now that you have to be registered to become an immigration advisor. But before that, there was a lot of cowboys and people actually lost thousands and thousands and they're status hasn't changed and they decided to go underground and from there other people have identified about they're staying and from there, they start approaching them, saying they're going to help them. The whole case is quite bizarre, because they giving a Maori citizenship to Maori adoption to and the case goes on.

WILSON: This is what they promise, Maori citizenship, is it?

MAKA: Yes, yes, some of them they say that they will give them a Maori citizenship and then from a Maori immigration minister. And our Tongan community is quite gullible and they got and they are quite vulnerable and people know that they in this type of situation and they just really targeted them.

WILSON: Is it disappointing from your point of view though that this continues to happen, that you continue to see these people coming up with new scams, targeting what you've described there as a vulnerable population?

MAKA: Oh, absolutely. Unless our government is really getting to stem this type of scam out, you will see to happen from this one will phase out, a new one will come in.

WILSON: So what do you do then, how do you try to stop this happening again in the future?

MAKA: It is really hard for those who overstay in this country to really make themselves publicly known they are overstay, because the trust sector has already gone out, because they been duped, they've been sucked into to paying a huge amount of money, but their immigration status hasn't changed and it's really, really disappointing because we trying to work with authorities and work with some of those immigration specialists. But it's really hard to really gain their trust, because once they gain their trust, they slowly work with them and try to assist them and point them to the right people who actually can help them, advise them about their immigration status.

WILSON: Is the bigger problem here actually trying to reduce the number of people from Tonga who do overstay?

MAKA: Oh, it is, it is, because I think for those overstayers, they weigh up their chances of going back to Tonga, to virtually nothing or they take their chances and the majority of them are prepared to take the risk.


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pacific islands media association
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aotearoa, new zealand
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pacific islands media association
pima.nius@gmail.com
aotearoa, new zealand
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The pima.nius googlegroup is a facility for discussion and distributing information. Content sent by this googlegroup are forwarded from various networks and media publications.
 
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