Local Govt | National News Video | Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Search

 


Man jailed after Pacific Island overstayers speak out

Hakaoro Hakaoro was jailed for 20 months for providing immigration advice without a licence at Manukau District Court today (22 January 2014).

The 54-year-old pleaded guilty to six counts of providing immigration advice without a licence and one count of holding himself out as an immigration adviser at an earlier hearing in October 2013.

The Immigration Advisers Authority (the Authority), which brought the successful prosecution, found Mr Hakaoro had received more than $13,000 from six Tongan nationals who were trying to obtain lawful immigration status for themselves or relatives. The migrants eventually spoke out after they discovered Mr Hakaoro had carried out little or no immigration work on their applications.

The court heard Mr Hakaoro, a Cook Island national with New Zealand citizenship, had talked three families into paying increasing amounts of money by making several false claims.

Mr Hakaoro offered to help one couple become permanent residents around November 2009. He told them he could assist them even though they were ‘overstayers’ as he knew all the right people.

Mr Hakaoro asked for $3,000 to assist them with their application and $3,000 to provide job offers. Later he also asked to borrow a further$2,000 to pay for his immigration adviser licence.

Anyone giving New Zealand immigration advice, whether onshore or offshore, must be licensed by the Authority, unless exempt. Exempt people include New Zealand lawyers.

Less than six months later, the couple were contacted by Immigration New Zealand (INZ) and informed they had to leave New Zealand. No visa applications had been submitted.

In 2010, Mr Hakaoro offered to help a woman, her mother and her husband. The three paid $3,750 and were asked for an additional $3,000 for Mr Hakaoro to travel to Tonga to obtain police records and check their status with INZ.

When the woman became unhappy with Mr Hakaoro and her son tried to intervene, Mr Hakaoro threatened to call INZ and expose the family’s unlawful status.

Mr Hakaoro told another couple that he had worked for INZ and could get visas for them and members of their family.

The couple’s daughter took out a loan to pay Mr Hakaoro’s fees only to find out from INZ that no visa applications had been submitted for their family.

Judge Eddie Paul said: "Your victims were vulnerable people, anxious to secure their status in this country. One can hardly think of a more vulnerable person than one in a foreign land being offered an opportunity to remain in that foreign land when the reality was that offer was unlawful and delivered in a deceitful way."

“Home detention is not appropriate. It would send the wrong message to the South Auckland community that persons like you can offend and return to the community.”

Mr Hakaoro was ordered to repay $5,000 to his victims at the rate of $20 per week upon release.

Registrar of Immigration Advisers, Barry Smedts, said: “This is a great result for the Pacific community. This case demonstrates that anyone who has had poor immigration advice can turn to the Immigration Advisers Authority for help. We do not deport people and we are separate from INZ.

“Several people affected by this case were in New Zealand unlawfully. It’s thanks to them having the courage to speak out and work with our investigators that we were able to bring this man to justice.”

The Authority recommends anyone seeking an immigration adviser or immigration consultant to first search their register of licensed immigration advisers at www.iaa.govt.nz.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

 

Education: Private Schools Beneficiaries Of Extra Cash

“Not only did this year’s Budget freeze operational funding for state schools, but 86 per cent of secondary school principals say they don’t get enough funding, and the demand for school donations from parents is rising at 10 times the rate of inflation... Now we’ve got Hekia Parata proposing more cash for private schools." More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Shewan Inquiry Into Our Tax Haven Rules

Like the political equivalent of lithium, Prime Minister John Key is routinely administered to dull any politically dangerous mood swings amidst the general public... More>>

ALSO:

Law Commission: Review Of Search And Surveillance Act Begins

“For example, the Act was drafted before cloud-based storage of data was commonplace. In the light of these and other developments, the Commission will be examining whether the investigative powers in the Act are sufficient for law enforcement purposes. We will also consider whether the safeguards that surround those processes are adequate.” More>>

ALSO:

Houses, Campers And Cops: LGNZ Media Briefing

At their quarterly media briefing today Local Government New Zealand addressed areas where local authorities are feeling pressure and outlined their approach for the upcoming local body elections in September-October. More>>

ALSO:

17 Year Sentences In Baby Moko Case: Attorney General On Plea Bargain

“The Crown’s decisions in this case, including the decision to accept the manslaughter pleas, were motivated by the need to secure convictions for this horrendous killing and to avoid the significant risk that either of the defendants could escape such a conviction because of evidential issues.” More>>

ALSO:

As Govt Cuts Lobby Anti-Smoking Group Funds: On The Nation - Plain Packaging Debate

Imperial Tobacco leaves open possibility of law suit against New Zealand government if plain packaging is introduced, as planned. Says it’s a “last resort” but “of course we will defend the right to use our brands”. More>>

ALSO:

No Rail For New Harbour Crossing: National Giving Up On Rail In Auckland

The National Government’s decision to scrap two planned rail lines in Auckland shows it is giving up on a city-wide rail network in Auckland, and on thousands of commuters who sit in traffic jams every single day, the Green Party said today. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Regional
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news