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Deportation of refugees


When can refugees be deported?

Immigration Act 2009, ss 129(2), 130(4), 131(4), 146, 162, 164(3), (4) United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees 1951, Articles 32.1, 33

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.

Immigration Act 2009, ss 130(4), 131(4), 164(4)

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

Immigration Act 2009, ss 129(2), 164(3) UN Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees 1951, Articles 32.1, 33 Case: [2005] NZSC 38

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

Immigration Act 2009, ss 146, 162

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.

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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 on how legal aid works, whether you might be eligible for the service, and the next steps.

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

ChangeMakers Resettlement Forum

ChangeMakers Resettlement Forum is a grass-roots non-governmental organisation representing 18+ refugee background communities in the greater Wellington region.

Website: crf.org.nz
Email: info@crf.org.nz
Phone: 04 801 5812
Facebook: www.facebook.com/changemakersrefugeeforum

E Tū Whānau

While E Tū Whānau is proudly Māori, their violence free and whānau centred kaupapa is also helpful to former refugee and migrant communities.

Website: etuwhanau.org.nz/communities/former-refugees-and-migrants
Email: admin@etuwhanau.org.nz
Instagram: www.instagram.com/etuwhanaunz
Facebook: www.facebook.com/etuwhanau

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

Red Cross Refugee Trauma Recovery – Wellington

This Refugee Trauma Recovery service provides clinical and therapeutic support to former refugees who have experienced torture and/or trauma in the Wellington region. The service is available to children, young people and adults.

Website: www.redcross.org.nz/get-help/help-for-refugees

Complete the trauma counselling self-referral form: www.redcross.org.nz/get-help/help-for-refugees/trauma-counselling/trauma-counselling-self-referral-form

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