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Bill Will Allow Overstayer Children To Go To School - Minister

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Jonathan Coleman
Jonathan Coleman

Wellington, June 29 NZPA - Immigration Minister Jonathan Coleman has given an assurance that a bill to be introduced later this year will allow the children of overstayers to go to school, it was reported tonight.

A TV One News special report said an estimated 1100 Pacific Island children could not attend school because their parents were overstayers, living illegally in New Zealand.

It said schools were in trouble if they were caught with the children of overstayers on their rolls, and had problems dealing with the changing immigration status of numerous young students.

Principals interviewed said there was an urgent need for the Government to do something about the situation, and the Human Rights Commission said New Zealand had signed the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child which said all children had a right to free education.

"In the past hour the Immigration Minister has contacted One News, he says a new immigration bill later this year will allow the children of overstayers to go to school," the bulletin reported.

The overstayer problem has been under scrutiny since an alleged visa scam was revealed.

Pacific Island overstayers had been paying $500 for fake visas which said they had been "adopted" by a Maori hapu.

Police have charged the scheme's organiser, Gerard Otimi, with three counts of deception.

There are about 16,000 overstayers in New Zealand, of which a third are from Samoa and Tonga.

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