Runaway Indians in New Zealand start to go home
A group of Indians who disappeared in New Zealand while reportedly on their way to Australia to see the Pope began going home on Sunday, news reports said.
About 40 young Indian men who joined a Catholic pilgrimage to the World Youth Day festival in Sydney that was scheduled for a week-long transit stop in Auckland, paid immigration fraudsters in Delhi half a million rupees believing that they were buying permanent residence in New Zealand, the dpa reported.
The men, mainly from the Punjab region, abandoned their Catholic family hosts as soon as they realized they had been taken for a ride and went to ground after failing to check in for their scheduled flights to Sydney on Tuesday.
But they were tracked by the local Sikh society which reported their disappearance to immigration officials, and at least half of them had been found by Sunday, Television New Zealand reported.
They were all given routine one-month tourist visas on arrival and will not be illegal immigrants until they expire next month, but two were expected to fly home on Sunday, accepting that they did not have residency and were unlikely to get it.
Sikh Society spokesman Daljit Singh said it was upsetting for them all, as they now realized they had not bought a new life in New Zealand and were cruelly swindled.