Deportation of refugees
When can refugees be deported?
If you’ve been recognised as a refugee, you can be deported only if:
- you’ve committed very serious crimes or are a threat to New Zealand national security, or
- your refugee status has been cancelled because you obtained it through fraud or forgery.
Those two sets of grounds for deportation are explained below.
People who’ve been recognised in New Zealand as a “protected person” also have some protections against deportation.
Threat to national security or a danger to the community
You can’t be deported to any place where your life or freedom would be at risk, unless:
- You’ve been convicted of a particularly serious crime and so are a danger to the community – even if so, you can’t be deported until you’ve had the chance to use all your appeal rights against your conviction through the criminal courts, or
- The New Zealand government has reasonable grounds to believe you’re a threat to New Zealand’s security – if so, you can only be deported if:
- the government has objectively reasonable grounds for believing this, and
- the threatened harm has to be substantial. The threatened harm (and how much danger that represents to New Zealand) will be judged separately, and won’t be compared to how much danger you’ll be in if you’re deported.
If you’re being deported because you’re a threat to New Zealand’s “national security or public order,” you have to be given a reasonable time to apply to enter another country legally. You also have the right to appeal the decision to deport you.
Cancellation of your refugee status for fraud, forgery, or misinformation
Your refugee status can be cancelled, and you can be deported, if you had originally obtained your recognition as a refugee through fraud, forgery, or false or misleading information, or through concealing relevant information. To be able to cancel your status, Immigration New Zealand must also have decided that you’re not really a refugee.
You have four weeks (28 days) to appeal to the Immigration and Protection Tribunal on the facts and/or on humanitarian grounds. If the fraud, forgery, or misinformation was established through you being convicted of a crime, then you can only apply on humanitarian grounds.