Immigration NZ Deportation Fight: Vietnamese Woman's Fear of Family Harm

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A Vietnamese woman feared harm from her family in the deportation fight as her relationship with a Kiwi man did not financially benefit them. Deportations from New Zealand climbed to 212 in the last financial year, with authorities granting a resident visa to the woman due to the detrimental effect on her New Zealand citizen children. Mistakes in deportation cases can have serious consequences, and the approach of different immigration officers has shown inconsistencies.

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A Vietnamese woman faced the possibility of deportation from New Zealand after her marriage ended and she found herself a single parent. The woman appealed to the Immigration and Protection Tribunal, successfully convincing authorities to let her stay. However, she feared that her family in Vietnam would harm her because her relationship with a Kiwi man did not financially benefit them.

Deportations from New Zealand dropped by 80% in mid-2022 due to the impact of COVID-19. However, figures from Immigration NZ show that the number of deportations climbed to 212 in the last financial year, up from 128 the previous year. Deportation generally occurs once all other avenues have been exhausted, and steps in the process include serving deportation liability notices and orders based on criminal activity or overstaying a visa.

The woman's appeal focused on the impact of deportation on her two young children, who are New Zealand citizens. The tribunal found that separating her from her children would have a serious detrimental effect on their emotional and psychological wellbeing. Despite the tribunal determining that her fears of persecution were not well-founded, the woman was granted a resident visa.

Deportations often involve complex and diverse human stories. Mistakes, even unintentional ones, can have serious consequences. While Immigration NZ sympathises with some cases and tries to find solutions, inconsistencies in the approach of different immigration officers have been noted. Small mistakes could result in liability notices, while criminal convictions often lead to deportation.

In another case, a citizen of Kiribati, convicted of serious offenses, including performing an indecent act on a young girl, had his appeal against deportation declined. The tribunal found that there were exceptional circumstances of a humanitarian nature but ultimately upheld the deportation decision.

Although deportation is not the end for individuals, as they can reapply from overseas, it poses challenges, especially when families are divided. New Zealand authorities prioritise keeping families together more than Australia. Those facing deportation can appeal the tribunal's decision to the High Court, but it is a high test that requires establishing a mistake of law or a public interest angle.

author headshot Michael Yoon
Last modified on 22 January 2024 by
Michael Yoon
Michael has been working as a lawyer in New Zealand since 2006. Over the years, he has successfully helped thousands of clients to get their desired outcome. Clients find Michael knowledgeable, approachable and professional — a trusted expert.

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