Nzis Team Identifies Fiftyone Refugees For Nz In Macedonia

  • John Delamare

The New Zealand Immigration Service Refugee Rescue Team in Macedonia has located 51 of the Kosovo refugees who will be coming to New Zealand. Since arriving in Macedonia last Thursday, Cheryl Hall, Julie Hill, and Christina Brennan have been interviewing those refugees named by their New Zealand relatives as having taken refuge in Skopje.

The Manager of the NZIS Refugee Resettlement Centre, Marie Sullivan, said the quick results for the Kosovo Team could be put down to the detailed planning before the trio left.

Of the 51 refugees located, 43 will be leaving for New Zealand later this week. Eight have decided to remain in Skopje for various reasons and will travel to New Zealand later.

The team members said late last night it had been a demanding four days, but they were thrilled to have achieved their first objective. The Government has announced that 200 families or up to 600 Kosovo refugees with close relatives in New Zealand will be eligible to take up residence here.

The first 43 are expected to arrive in Auckland next Saturday (22 May 1999).

The Immigration Service team will remain in the Balkans and use information compiled by the UN High Commission for Refugees and other aid agencies to try to locate more of the relatives named by Albanians now living in New Zealand.

They said their task would be much more difficult now, with the whereabouts of the remaining relatives either less certain or completely unknown.