Three more Indian pilgrims missing in Kiwi immigration scamJuly 15th, 2008 - 3:01 pm ICT by ANI
Wellington, July 15 (ANI): Three more Indian pilgrims have disappeared from their billet families in Auckland bringing to 35 the number now believed to have gone missing.
An Indian taxi driver, taking three of the men from Auckland to Tauranga, spoke with them about their plans and informed the New Zealand Sikh Society Auckland.
The Department of Labour confirmed that the 35 were mostly males, aged between 17 and 35.
They are believed to be part of an immigration scam to stay in New Zealand.
They were part of a 220 strong group of Indian pilgrims who stopped over in Auckland en route to Sydney to see the Pope and take part in World Youth Day.
Most these Indians started disappearing over the last five days, and all but one left their luggage behind, reports the website stuff.co.nz.
The initial plan was for them to pay a deposit of 17,000 dollars, which would get them multiple visas for a month.
They were to travel to Auckland then on to Sydney before heading back to India with 15 days left on their visas.
The agent would then require another $17,000 before they travelled back to New Zealand this time to stay as long as they wanted.
However, they discussed the plan on the plane while flying into Auckland and decided to make a change.
Immigration New Zealand has launched an investigation into the alleged scam. (ANI)
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Tags: auckland, billet, department of labour, immigration new zealand, India, indians, initial plan, kiwi, luggage, pilgrims, pope, sikh, stuff co nz, sydney, taxi driver, visas, website stuff, wellington, world youth day