Afghan Interpreters Must Wait to Clear Security Checks for NZ Immigration

New Zealand immigration minister Michael Woodhouse has clarified that Afghan interpreters who worked for New Zealand forces in Afghanistan and have applied for permanent residence must wait for a period of time that would be required to get the security clearance in a country which has active terrorist groups. New Zealand Prime minister has said that there is possibility of fast tracked processing if the Afghan interpreter’s life is endangered. The remarks were in response to a report which claimed that that New Zealand government is abandoning the Afghan nationals worked for armed forces citing the case of an applicant who escaped death from the Taliban insurgents.

Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse defended the amount of time taken to process requests for residency in a statement and said, ” because such requests come from a nation with active terrorist groups, it is crucial that all necessary security checks are done on applicants.” It cane take three-four months in processing such applications.

New Zealand Prime Minister John Key said, “Requests for residency from Afghans who have worked alongside the Defence Force could be fast-tracked if that work has put their lives at risk. Mr Key says each case is assessed on a case-by-case basis.”

Radio New Zealand’s correspondent Jon Stephenson had reported that an Afghan interpreter who have applied for residency in New Zealand was abducted by Taliban insurgents who almost killed him. The man was able to escape torture after three days of captivity. Now he fears that he will be murdered by Taliban if he does not move to New Zealand as soon as possible.

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