12 December 2008

Fiji national footballer denied transit visa for New Zealand

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Despite waivers for the Fiji Under-20 football team, defender Jone Nailogo has been denied a transit visa for New Zealand, reports the Fiji Times.

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 denying the team a transit visa for New Zealand.

The team is looking to travel to Tahiti for the Oceania U20 tournament today, via New Zealand.  However, the New Zealand Embassy in Suva 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.

However, as Nailogo's father is a military officer, the Fijian defender will not be able to transit through New Zealand.  Fiji Football Association vice president and national team chairman Rajesh Patel said the team would suffer the loss of a great player without Nailogo attending, but would not comment on the visa issue.

Fiji will be facing New Zealand in the first match of the tournament on Sunday, and the rest of the team have flown out today. 

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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