Barrister who aided human trafficker found guilty of fraud

Close-up of work visa application document for temporary stay in New Zealand
Photo credit: Newshub.

A barrister has been convicted of knowingly providing false and misleading information to Immigration New Zealand (INZ) on behalf of a human trafficker. 

In 2014, Mohammad Idris Hanif provided legal services to Faroz Ali. 

In 2016, Ali was convicted for bringing Fijian workers for their labour under the guise of a tourist visa.

Mohammad Hanif provided false information to INZ on behalf of these Fijian victims on five separate occasions. 

Hanif stated the workers were tourists who wished to remain in New Zealand longer in order to sight-see and visit family and friends.

"The sole intention of Mohammad Hanif's involvement in the visa applications was to commit fraud," Peter Devoy from INZ said.

"We will not tolerate people committing immigration fraud and today's outcome reflects this."

The Fijian workers were forced into working for Faroz Ali's gib-fixing and fruit-picking businesses.

The workers were promised working visas and were told they'd earn $17 per hour. In reality, they worked on visitor visas and some earned less than half of what was promised.

Men and women were forced to sleep in a room together, on mattresses on the floor and often without blankets.

Ali was ordered to pay $28,000 in reparations.

This was the first time charges of human trafficking have been brought before the court in New Zealand.

All Fijian nationals have now returned home.