A Romanian couple who were trying to visit New Zealand as the wife was planing to study there were refused access to the country at the Auckland airport, and then sent back on the next plane to Romania.
Veronica Lazarovici and Mădălin Vânătoru arrived at Auckland airport on September 22 and were expecting a brief meeting with Immigration officers and then were planing to travel around the country, according to TVNZ station in New Zealand. Instead, they were denied entry to New Zealand as the immigration officers feared the couple were looking for illegal work in the country and planning never to return to Romania, according to TVNZ.
The Romanian couple said they overheard one of the immigration officers saying ‘no more Romanians’, but later on the Immigration Service spokesman explained it was a request – ‘Please don’t send me any more Romanians’ and apologized for the inappropriate comment, which was misinterpreted.
“This matter has been fully investigated and the investigation found that an inappropriate comment was made by an officer to a fellow border officer, which was overheard and misconstrued,” the spokeswoman said, adding that it was particularly regrettable because “it was made within earshot of members of the public”.
Veronica Lazarovici, who was planing to study in the country, had USD 17,000 to pay her fees and acceptance letters, but had not enrolled yet as she wanted to see the institutions before handing over the money.
“I am talking here about two people with no criminal record, who have traveled to many places around the world and never had any problems, but were treated as criminals by Immigration New Zealand,” she said, quoted by TVNZ.
In response, the Immigration Service spokesman said: “INZ was not satisfied they were bona fide visitors. On arrival the couple claimed to be coming for a general visit, but despite planning the trip for over two months, they could not explain in any detail what they wanted to see or do in New Zealand.”
The woman contests the statement and says she mentioned plenty of places she wanted to visit, which were recorded on tape.
However, the spokesman went on to say the woman had resigned from her job the week before traveling to New Zealand and that the husband said he was a self-employed maintenance worker, “but could not substantiate that he was actually employed or had a job to return to”, the spokeswoman said.
The full story on TVNZ here.
(photo source: Auckland Airport)