Progress On Kosova Albanian Refugees

  • John Delamare

Immigration Minister, Hon Tuariki Delamere, said today the New Zealand Immigration Service was making rapid progress in identifying Kosova Albanian refugees who wanted to come to New Zealand.

"Over the weekend, a dozen Immigration staff worked tirelessly collating all the information provided by almost 40 Albanian families now living in New Zealand seeking to sponsor their relatives who have been forced out of Kosovo by Serb forces," he said.

Nearly all the sponsoring families live in the Auckland region, with a couple from Wellington and a couple more from the top of the South Island. It is hoped a four-strong team will leave New Zealand for the Macedonian-Kosovo border next week. The three Immigration Service officials, plus an interpreter, will try to match up people in the refugee camps with the information provided by the families in New Zealand and arrange for their travel to this country.

"I am advised this will not be an easy task as the situation at the border is still chaotic. More information on that will come from the Canberra-based representative of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, who has been at the border and is currently returning to Australia.

"Meanwhile, may I say how gratified I have been by the flood of correspondence into my office from all over the country offering help and accommodation for the refugees.

"This has been a spontaneous outburst of compassion of which New Zealanders ought to be proud," concluded the Minister.