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Church opens door to Indian students

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 6/02/2017

Nine Indian students facing deportation after their agents used fraudulent documents to obtain visas have been offered sanctuary in an Auckland church.

The Unitarian Church in Grey Lynn has opened its doors to the students, who have lost their battle to stay in New Zealand.

It has asked the government to find a way, on compassionate grounds, for the group to remain in the country to complete their educational plans.

The students and their supporters will be allowed access to the church during the day.

The Rev Clay Nelson says Unitarians support justice and fair play.

"It is clear that these students are being subjected to a harsh penalty due to the actions of others and not their own," he said.

"We implore the government to intercede on their behalf. It is the right thing to do."

New Zealand First has described the deportation of the students as a disgrace, while the Green Party says the government should show compassion.

Immigration NZ says the students have exhausted all options to remain in New Zealand and will be deported if they do not leave voluntarily.

In May, the government cracked down on student visa fraud after it was discovered hundreds of students, nearly all of them Indian, were in New Zealand on visas obtained using fake documents.

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