New Zealand’s Ministry of Justice, has released the details of five deportation appeal hearings concerning Tongan citizens that were conducted in September last year. Appellants varied from a 16-month-old girl to a 78-year-old woman. Their appeals were heard before New Zealand’s Immigration and Protection Tribunal.
A case involved a 16-month--old girl who had overstayed. The Tribunal granted her a one year reprieve on humanitarian grounds. The Tribunal found that the girl had been adopted by her uncle (a New Zealand resident) while on a visit to New Zealand with her mother in 2015. The Tribunal determined that a formal adoption process was pending completion and that it was in the public’s interest to promote family unity and the child’s well-being.
A case involved a 78-year-old woman from Niuatoputapu who had overstayed. The Tribunal granted her a resident visa based on humanitarian grounds. The Tribunal found that the woman was reliant on two sons living in New Zealand, one of whom was a New Zealand citizen. The Tribunal determined that she was at an “advanced age” and that it was in the public’s interest to allow her to remain in New Zealand on a permanent basis.
A case involved a 33-year-old man facing deportation because he had been unlawfully residing in New Zealand since 2009. The Tribunal rejected his appeal but granted him a 3-month visitor visa. The Tribunal found that the appellant was married to a New Zealand citizen with whom he had 7-year-old daughter. The appellant was a house husband and fathered his daughter at home, whilst the wife was a nursing student. It was determined that his daughter had the support of her maternal family, and that contact with the appellant could be maintained via telephone. The Tribunal noted that the wife and daughter would be distressed with the appellant living apart from them.
A case involved a 34-year-old man who was facing deportation because of criminal convictions involving domestic violence and the illegal neutering of a dog. The Tribunal granted him a 12-month work visa based on humanitarian grounds. The Tribunal found that the appellant was married to a New Zealand resident and had four children, all born in New Zealand. In 2014, the appellant was convicted for assaulting his wife. In 2016, he was convicted for neutering a dog without veterinarian supervision. Despite the convictions, the Tribunal determined that the appellant was repairing his family relationship and that a deportation would have a negative impact on his wife and children. It was determined that the appellant should remain on a temporary basis to undergo rehabilitation and with a view to testing his eligibility for a grant of residence.
A case involved a married couple aged 59 and 57, who had been overstaying in New Zealand since 1997. The Tribunal granted them resident visas on humanitarian grounds. The tribunal found that the couple had been working and paying taxes throughout their stay in New Zealand. They had six children, one of whom is a New Zealand resident who is married with two children. The couple both suffered from health issues. If deported, the couple would live in very poor conditions. The Tribunal determined that it would be unduly harsh or unjust for them to be deported.
- Reporting by Finau Fonua/ Matangi Tonga.