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Deportation: Being made to leave New Zealand

The deportation process

Deportation for being here unlawfully

Process and time limits for being deported if you’re here unlawfully

Immigration Act 2009, ss 154, 179(2)(a)

If your visa has expired and you’re therefore in New Zealand unlawfully, Immigration New Zealand doesn’t have to give you any notice that now you may be deported. (This contrasts with deportation of visa holders, who must be given a deportation liability notice – see below: “Deportation of visa holders”).

You have the right to appeal against your deportation to the Immigration and Protection Tribunal on humanitarian grounds. 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 until the time for appealing has passed if you don’t appeal.

To deport you, Immigration NZ have to give you a deportation order. The earliest they can do this is 28 days after you lose your appeal (or, if you didn’t appeal, on the day after the six-week appeal limit has passed). Once they’ve given you the deportation order, Immigration NZ can take you into custody (which could mean holding you in jail) and then take you to an airport or port.

Immigration Act 2009, s 177

After they’ve made a deportation order, you can still ask Immigration NZ to cancel the order. They have a broad power to do this.

Deportation of visa holders

When I will be notified if I’m going to be deported?

Immigration Act 2009, ss 170, 171

If you hold a current New Zealand visa and Immigration New Zealand wants to deport you, they have to start the process by giving you a “deportation liability notice”.

If they plan to deport you because you no longer have a valid visa and so are now here unlawfully, they don’t have to give you a deportation liability notice.

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

  • why you’re being deported and the particular section in the Immigration Act 2009 that Immigration NZ are relying on
  • 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.

What happens after I’m given a deportation liability notice?

Getting a deportation liability notice doesn’t mean you can be deported straightaway – it simply begins the process. You have various appeal rights (depending on what kind of visa you’ve got and why they’re deporting you) that you can use before you’re deported (see below).

Only after you’ve had the chance to use your appeal rights can Immigration NZ then make a deportation order and force you to leave the country.

After they’ve made a deportation order, you can still ask Immigration New Zealand to cancel the order. They have a broad power to do this.

How can I challenge my deportation?

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

In the following cases, you’ll 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:

  • if you’re a Temporary Visa holder and Immigration NZ are deporting you because you breached your visa conditions, or committed a crime, or for some other “sufficient reason”
  • if Immigration NZ made a mistake in giving you a Temporary Visa or Residence Class Visa (for example if you were in fact legally disqualified from getting a New Zealand visa)
  • if Immigration NZ are claiming that you obtained your Temporary Visa or Residence Class Visa using a false identity.

You’ll also usually have the right to challenge your deportation by appealing to the Immigration and Protection Tribunal, either on the grounds that:

  • Immigration NZ are not legally justified in deporting you (called appealing “on the facts”) or
  • there are exceptional humanitarian circumstances in your case.

You’ll usually have four weeks (28 days) after getting the deportation liability notice to appeal to the Tribunal. The grounds for appealing and the relevant time limits are explained in this chapter (see: “Temporary Visa holders: Being deported for wrongdoing or other reasons”, and “Residence Class Visa holders: Being deported for wrongdoing or other reasons”).

However, if you’re being deported for being here unlawfully, you have six weeks (42 days) to appeal, counting from the first day your immigration status was unlawful (that is, the day after your visa expired).

Getting a final deportation order

Immigration Act 2009, ss 175A, 178, 179

If you challenge your deportation and Immigration New Zealand turns you down, they can serve a deportation order on you the day after they tell you they’ve decided they’re still going to deport you. They can take you into custody – which could mean jail – and then take you to an airport or port.

If you didn’t challenge the deportation, they can’t serve a deportation order on you until 15 days after giving you the initial deportation liability notice.

Once you’ve been deported, you can’t be granted a visa or entry permission for five years.

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Where to go for more support

Community Law

Your local Community Law Centre can provide you with free initial legal advice.

Find your local Community Law Centre online: www.communitylaw.org.nz/our-law-centres

Immigration New Zealand

Immigration New Zealand is the government organisation that deals with visa applications and other immigration issues. It’s part of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.

Website: www.immigration.govt.nz
Phone: 0508 558 855

The Operational manual contains immigration instructions that people who want to come to New Zealand must follow. While it is not a step-by-step guide, it will help you follow Immigration New Zealand’s processes. Access it here: www.immigration.govt.nz/opsmanual

See also Immigration’s policies and processes: www.immigration.govt.nz/about-us/policy-and-law/how-the-immigration-system-operates

Immigration and Protection Tribunal

The Immigration and Protection Tribunal determines appeals on Immigration New Zealand’s decisions about refugee and protection matters.

Website: www.justice.govt.nz/Tribunals/immigration/immigration-and-protection

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