Facing deportation? What are your options?

  1. Grounds for deportation

    If your visa has expired, you have to leave New Zealand. If you do not leave voluntarily, you are here unlawfully and are liable for deportation. If you currently hold a visa and are in New Zealand legally, you can only be deported on the grounds stated in the Immigration Act (The ‘Immigration Act 2009‘ is the fundamental source of New Zealand immigration law). This includes reasons such as breaching visa conditions, withholding information, false identity, being convicted of a criminal offence or other character-related issues, change in your situation or being granted a visa by mistake.
  2. Deportation Liability Notice

    If your visa has expired and you do not hold a valid New Zealand visa, you are liable for deportation and Immigration New Zealand doesn’t have to give you any notice that now you may be deported.If you are a visa holder and Immigration New Zealand wants to deport you, they have to start the process by giving you a “deportation liability notice”.

    The deportation liability notice will give you important information about your case, including:

    • why you’re being deported
    • what appeal rights you have
    • whether you’ll be barred from returning to New Zealand after you’re deported, and for how long
    • whether you’ll have to repay the New Zealand government the costs of deporting you.
  3. Your options, Instructing a deportation lawyer

    In some cases, you will have two weeks (14 days) after you get a deportation liability notice to challenge your deportation by giving Immigration New Zealand a good reason why you shouldn’t be deported.You’ll also usually have the right to challenge your deportation by appealing to the Immigration and Protection Tribunal. How much time you have to appeal your deportation to the Immigration and Protection Tribunal will depend on why you’re being deported.

    Appeals to the Tribunal are made either on the grounds that Immigration NZ are wrong that they’re legally justified in deporting you (called appealing “on the facts”) or on the grounds that there are exceptional humanitarian circumstances in your case. The ‘humanitarian grounds test’ is a very difficult test to overcome as you will need to satisfy the Tribunal that all of the following is true:

    • there are exceptional humanitarian circumstances in your case, and
    • those circumstances would make it “unjust or unduly harsh” for you to be deported, and
    • letting you stay wouldn’t be against the public interest.

    It is really important to contact an immigration lawyer and seek good legal advice as soon as possible as your immigration lawyer will be able to discuss all your options and time-frames with you. It takes a lot of time to prepare your appeal, submissions and evidence.