Communtity Law Manual | Immigration | When you can be deported: Grounds for deportation

Deportation: Being made to leave New Zealand

When you can be deported: Grounds for deportation

People without visas: Being deported because you’re here unlawfully

Obligation to leave New Zealand if you’re here “unlawfully” (illegally)

Immigration Act 2009, s 154

As soon as you’re in New Zealand “unlawfully” (illegally) – for example, if your visa has expired – you have a legal obligation to leave the country, and you can be deported after a certain time if you haven’t left voluntarily.

Note: Immigration New Zealand uses the word “overstayer” to refer to people who remain in New Zealand after their visa expires.

Can I appeal against being deported for being here unlawfully?

Immigration Act 2009, s 154(2)

You have the right to appeal to the Immigration and Protection Tribunal on humanitarian grounds against the requirement to leave New Zealand. See below, “Appealing against deportation”.

You have six weeks (42 days) to appeal to the Tribunal – the six weeks is counted from when your unlawful status begins (that is, when your visa expired). You can’t be deported unless and until you’ve appealed and lost your appeal, or, if you don’t appeal, until the six-week appeal time has passed.

You can also apply to Immigration New Zealand for a visa under section 61 as a special case: see “If you’re here illegally: Understanding your options”.

Once Immigration New Zealand has made a deportation order, they still have a broad power to cancel it.

Note: In the 2014/15 financial year, the New Zealand government deported 530 people who were here unlawfully. Immigration New Zealand said that they also negotiated the voluntary departure of 1,242 people (leaving voluntarily before you’re deported means you don’t face a ban of up to five years before you can return to New Zealand).

Temporary Visa holders: Being deported for wrongdoing or other reasons

When can Temporary Visa holders be deported?

Immigration Act 2009, ss 155, 156, 157

As a Temporary Visa holder, you can be deported for the following reasons:

  • Breaching visa conditions – if you’ve breached any of the conditions of your visa (for example, if you work while you have only a Visitor Visa)
  • Withholding information – if Immigration New Zealand find out that you held back relevant information when you applied for your visa
  • False identity – if you applied for and got your current visa under a false identity
  • Change in your situation – if your situation no longer meets the rules or qualifying requirements under which your visa was granted
  • Committing crimes – if you’re convicted of a criminal offence
  • “Character” problems or other good reasons – if Immigration NZ has some other “sufficient reason” for deporting you, including something about your character
  • Mistakes (“administrative error”) – if Immigration NZ granted you your visa by mistake (for example, if you were in fact disqualified from getting a visa in the first place because of a criminal record).

How can I appeal against being deported?

Immigration Act 2009, ss 155(2) & (4)(b), 156(2), 157(2) & (4)

There are two ways you can challenge a decision by Immigration New Zealand to deport you from New Zealand:

  • Giving Immigration NZ a good reason for staying – You have two weeks (14 days) after getting a deportation liability notice to give Immigration New Zealand a good reason why you shouldn’t be deported.
  • Appealing to the Immigration and Protection Tribunal – You have four weeks (28 days) after getting the deportation liability notice to appeal your deportation to the Immigration and Protection Tribunal on humanitarian grounds. The Tribunal is like a court, and it’s independent of Immigration New Zealand.

However, the time limit for appealing to the Tribunal is different if you’re being deported on the basis that you used a false identity to get your visa (see above, “When can Temporary Visa holders be deported?”). In that case, you only have six weeks (42 days) from the first day you were in New Zealand under that visa.

Residence Class Visa holders: Being deported for wrongdoing or other reasons

On what grounds can a Residence Class Visa holder be deported?

Immigration Act 2009, ss 155, 156, 158-161, 163

As the holder of a Resident Visa or a Permanent Resident Visa, you can be deported for the following reasons:

  • Committing crimes – if you’re convicted, whether in New Zealand or another country, of committing a criminal offence, but only if
    • it’s an offence for which you could have been jailed for three months or more, and
    • you committed the offence while you were in New Zealand unlawfully, or while you held a Temporary Visa, or during the first two years of your residence
  • Breaching visa conditions – if you’ve breached any of the conditions of your visa (for example, it might have been a condition of a Resident Visa under the Skilled Migrant Category that you accept an offer of skilled employment within three months)
  • Fraud, forgery, misinformation – if Immigration New Zealand find out you gave them false, fraudulent, forged or misleading information, or that you held back relevant information, when you applied for your visa
  • False identity – if you’re holding your visa under a false identity
  • New character information – if, within five years after you obtained your first Resident Visa, Immigration NZ gets new information about your “character” that existed at the time they granted you the visa and that would have disqualified you from getting the visa had they known about it
  • Mistakes (“administrative error”) – if Immigration NZ granted your visa by mistake (for example, if you shouldn’t have been given a visa in the first place because your criminal record legally disqualified you)
  • Security risk – if you’re a current threat to New Zealand’s defence or security, including security against terrorism, spying and organised crime (but this requires a certificate from the Minister of Immigration and an Order in Council from the government).

How can I appeal against being deported?

Immigration Act 2009, ss 155(2) & (4)(a), 156

Whether you can appeal your deportation to the Immigration and Protection Tribunal, and on what grounds, depends on the reason why Immigration New Zealand wants to deport you:

  • Committing crimes – You have four weeks (28 days) after Immigration NZ gives you the deportation liability notice to appeal to the Immigration and Protection Tribunal on humanitarian grounds.
  • Breaching visa conditions – You have four weeks (28 days) after getting the deportation liability notice to appeal to the Tribunal, on humanitarian grounds, or on the basis that you didn’t in fact breach your conditions (called “appealing on the facts”), or on both grounds.
  • Fraud, forgery – You have four weeks (28 days) after getting the deportation liability notice to appeal to the Tribunal:
    • on humanitarian grounds, or on the basis that Immigration NZ were wrong on the facts, or both
    • on humanitarian grounds only, if the fraud or forgery was established through you being convicted of a crime in the courts.
  • False identity
    • You have four weeks (28 days) after the deportation liability notice to appeal to the Tribunal on the basis that Immigration NZ were wrong on the facts (but you don’t have this appeal right if your real identity was established through you being convicted of a crime in the courts) and
    • you have six weeks (42 days) from the first day you were in New Zealand under that visa to appeal to the Tribunal on humanitarian grounds.
  • New character information – You have four weeks (28 days) after getting the deportation liability notice to appeal to the Tribunal either on humanitarian grounds, or on the basis that Immigration NZ were wrong on the facts, or both.
  • Mistakes (administrative error) – You have four weeks (28 days) after getting the deportation liability notice to appeal to the Tribunal, either on humanitarian grounds, or on the basis that your visa wasn’t in fact granted in error (“on the facts”), or both.
  • Security risk – You have no appeal rights in this situation.
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