14 Feb 2014

Afghan interpreters offered residency

7:02 pm on 14 February 2014

A total of 16 Afghans are likely to be granted residency to New Zealand, as a four-year immigration case involving SAS interpreters is resolved.

Michael Woodhouse.

Michael Woodhouse. Photo: SUPPLIED

Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse confirmed on Friday that the Government will offer residency to six interpreters and 10 family members of the six.

In a letter, Mr Woodhouse said are being granted residency as long as they can pass security and health checks.

The offer is restricted to the immediate family - wife and children - of each interpreter, but not to their wider families, who interpreters say also face threats to their lives.

Interpreters worked with New Zealand troops who were part of the Provincial Reconstruction Team based in Bamiyan province.

In April last year, 30 interpreters and their 64 family members were resettled under a package agreed by the Cabinet in December 2012. Another nine men and their families were granted residency in October 2013.

Radio New Zealand correspondent Jon Stephenson told its Checkpoint programme on Friday he has seen the letter the interpreters got from the minister.

"The letter basically says their submissions have been carefully considered and their "particular circumstances". The minister says in his letter that, although they don't qualify for the assistance package that the Government offered to other interpreters at the Provincial Reconstruction Team, he is granting them residence, provided they meet certain security, health, character and credibility checks."