‘Not our problem : Men must leave before visas expire’

Permanent Secretary for the Office of the Prime Minister Yogesh Karan. Picture: FT FILE

BANGLADESH nationals claiming they were conned into coming to Fiji with promises of work in exchange for money need to leave the country before their visas expire.

Prime Minister’s Office permanent secretary Yogesh Karan said claims they were tricked was “not our problem” and the foreigners should take responsibility for the decisions they made.

“It’s not our problem they were tricked,” he said. “They should exercise due diligence before coming to Fiji.

“All we know is that they should adhere to their visa conditions and leave the country before it expires.”

Mr Karan’s warning comes after three Bangladesh nationals approached authorities for assistance claiming they were promised work visa upon arrival.

Lal Chand, Hasan Ali and Masum Rana said they only found out upon arrival in March — when they were allowed to stay for 14 days — that they had travelled under a tourist visa.

The trio claimed they had paid $F15,000 to an agent in Bangladesh who promised he had secured work visas and jobs for them.

Mr Chand said a local businessman who received them in Nadi made arrangements for their employment.

“They were able to get us work and a work permit for another three months,” said Mr Chand. “We were not getting paid enough money and could not pay our rent.

“Now they won’t release our passport.”

He said their work permit was due to expire on July 18.

“We just want help from Government and we want our passport back so we can apply for other jobs.”

The company that initially employed the men did not respond to queries about the men’s claims.

Police spokeswoman Ana Naisoro said the Bangladesh nationals had lodged a report at the Border Police Unit.

“They are claiming they are digger operators and they had given a large sum of money to four suspects for their work permit visa in Fiji, but the visa was not provided accordingly,” she said.

“Initial stages of the investigation are ongoing.”

Ms Naisoro said the investigation also encompassed how the foreign nationals arrived in the country and whether they had proper paperwork.

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