6 Dec 2007

Indian labourers stuck on Niue because New Zealand Immigraton reluctant to give transit visas

3:33 pm on 6 December 2007

Concern is growing for a group of Indian nationals who reportedly want to leave Niue, but can't.

The 13 men were brought to Niue in 2006, in an attempt to solve a labour shortage, and are now stranded on the island.

There is only one weekly flight off Niue, which transits through Auckland, but New Zealand immigration officials are being cautious about granting a visa.

Radio New Zealand International understands at least three of the men want to leave.

But Maru Talagi, one of the directors of Niue Enterprise Agriculture, which brought the men to the Island, says none of the men have told him they want to go home.

"I think the link from Apia to Niue is under negotiation, and once that link is established then there's no problem for them to go back to India for a holiday via Apia, rather than having to wait for New Zealand immigration to say it's ok to transit via Auckland."

Maru Talagi

The New Zealand immigration service says it is assisting Niue to consider options for the group.