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No visas for Indians as NZ needed more checks

According to labour officials, there were "valid reasons" for denying visas to some Indian businesspeople wanting to attend a joint business council meet in New Zealand.

india Updated: Nov 06, 2007 03:01 IST

There were "valid reasons" for denying visas to some Indian businesspeople wanting to attend a joint business council meeting in New Zealand in October, labour officials have said.

"Ten applications required further checks for reasons including fraudulent documents and negative immigration histories with New Zealand and other countries," said a statement issued on Monday by New Zealand's Department of Labour Workforce Deputy Secretary Mary Anne Thompson.

In October end, New Zealand immigration officials had refused entry visas to up to 20 members of a 30-member delegation of Indian businesspersons invited to a conference to discuss expanding trade links between the two countries.

Thompson said: "In all, 26 visa applications were lodged, 15 were approved in time for the meeting, and one application was withdrawn. However, 10 applications required further checks. These outstanding applications were still under consideration at the time of the joint business council meeting in New Zealand."

"This involved standard checks which are carried out in any situation where department staff require further information. All visa applications are subject to the same thorough checks to ensure people are travelling to New Zealand for genuine reasons. The department has reviewed its decisions on these individuals and stands by them," she added.

"Also of note is that this group was not sponsored by an Indian or New Zealand organisation and nine of the 10 applications came from people from companies not listed on the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce website," Thompson added.

Majority of the outstanding applications were only lodged a week before the meeting in New Zealand, despite the department's website clearly stating that processing can take a number of weeks if checks are needed.

Following the incident, Immigration Minister David Cunliffe had initiated an inquiry.