Last week at least six Israelis were not allowed to enter New Zealand, Yedioth Ahronoth learned. They were taken to a lengthy questioning session at the airport, at the end of which they were put on the first flight back to the destination from which they came. And they are not alone: Recently several other Israelis were caught in immigration authorities raids, aimed at locating illegal workers at shopping malls, and they too were deported.
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This is a drastic change in New Zealand's approach towards Israeli travelers. In 2011, Israel and New Zealand signed an agreement that allows Israeli backpackers below the age of 26 to work legally in a variety of fields for a year so they could fund a trip in the country. However, the agreement states that only 200 Israelis could be granted work permits, while it is estimated that hundreds of Israelis applied for the permit.
Due to the increased flow of Israeli youths who came to the country in search of work, New Zealand's authorities began giving them a less-than-warm welcome: Israelis who were deported from the country said that immediately upon landing they were taken to lengthy investigations at the airport.
During their questioning, the travelers claim, they were questioned in regards to the planned duration of their stay, amount of money in their possession, and were even requested to show a return ticket – all to prove they are indeed in the country for the purpose of traveling. Those who were deemed not credible were removed from the country, and their entry to New Zealand was banned for at least five years.
The multiple cases of deportation brought the Israeli Foreign Ministry to issue a travel warning to New Zealand. The goal is to ensure that Israelis who plan to visit the country conduct careful examination prior to boarding the plane there.
The statement, in which the causes that may arouse immigration authorities' suspicion are noted, in fact provides Israelis with tips on how to avoid deportation. Among the recommendations: Demonstrate proficiency in planned trip route, arrive with a return ticket and carry enough money for the entire duration of stay in the country.
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