04 December 2008

Fiji football team finally get transit visa for NZ

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Last week, the Fiji Football Association asked for help to get transit New Zealand visas for their national Under-20 football team after they were rejected by the New Zealand Embassy in Suva.

However, according to Radio New Zealand, the New Zealand Immigration Service has granted a temporary waiver of the immigration regulations that denied the team a transit visa for New Zealand.

The team is looking to travel to Tahiti for the Oceania U20 tournament next month, via New Zealand.  However, the New Zealand Embassy in Suva has rejected their applications for transit visas for New Zealand. 

The New Zealand Government is still imposing visa sanctions after the military coup in 2006 in Fiji. 

A formal request from the Fiji Football Association and the Oceania Confederation to the immigration Department that challenged their decision to deny the team a visa for New Zealand succeeded.  The team can now transit New Zealand for the occasion.

The Fiji FA President, Doctor Sahu Khan, said the outcome proves the New Zealand government is committed to maintaining a clear distinction between sports and politics, and that the decision to allow the team to travel through New Zealand has saved his association USD$32,000.

The Fiji team will be facing New Zealand in the first match of the tournament. 

The New Zealand Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in helping people with their New Zealand visa application.

Article by Jessica Bird, New Zealand Visa Bureau.

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