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Government welcomes Afghan interpreters

Hon Michael Woodhouse
Minister of Immigration

22 April 2013

Government welcomes Afghan interpreters

Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse today welcomed 30 Afghan interpreters and their families to New Zealand, greeting the group of 94 off the plane at Whenuapai air base following their flight from Afghanistan.

“These men played a vital role in the operation of the Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) and supporting the New Zealand Police in Bamyan, and we are grateful for their service.

“I am delighted to welcome them and their families to start their new life in New Zealand and I am sure they will settle well into their new country and make a meaningful contribution,” Mr Woodhouse says.

Last year the Government offered resettlement for all interpreters who were employed by the PRT or had worked with the New Zealand Police through EUPOL in Bamyan, in the past two years.

“The resettlement offer reflected the Government’s view that we should demonstrate a duty of care to personnel who risked their lives to help New Zealanders.”

The interpreters and their families will spend their first eight weeks in the country at the Mangere Refugee Resettlement Centre where they will undertake a comprehensive programme focused on the skills and information needed to prepare them for their new lives in New Zealand.

The group will be resettled in Hamilton and Palmerston North and will be supported by the New Zealand Red Cross and other organisations in accessing services and finding work.

ENDS

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