We recently managed to secure the cancellation of a client’s (“X”) deportation liability. The decision to cancel the deportation liability was made right at the top of the Immigration New Zealand ladder, by the Minister of Immigration himself.
The background was complex but we’ll give you a brief overview.
X is a Resident of New Zealand but became liable for deportation as a result of Immigration New Zealand finding she had supplied false and misleading information with her Residence application. As a result of this, an earlier Minister of Immigration decided to issue X with deportation liability notice but also suspended X’s liability for deportation for 3 years provided certain conditions were met, which included that X not receive any criminal convictions.
X came to us in late 2015 with a letter from INZ Resolutions Branch in Wellington (serious stuff…) stating they were considering whether to reactivate deportation liability because it had come to their attention that X had received two criminal convictions, one for wilful damage and another for common assault. X had been given 3 weeks to reply to this letter.
Complicating the situation was the fact that X had a young New Zealand citizen son, the father of which was also a New Zealand citizen. The son had been the matter of Family Court proceedings regarding custody. The criminal convictions X received resulted from a domestic disagreement at the ex-partner’s (father’s) house after the ex-partner had kept the son child beyond contact hours as per an order of the Family Court. When the domestic disagreement leading to the criminal convictions was viewed in the wider context of circumstances surrounding the New Zealand citizen son, it was quite clear X had been provoked. While X strictly speaking, “technically” had received the criminal convictions and breached the conditions placed on the suspension of her deportation liability, we advanced the argument in written submissions to the Minister of Immigration that the punishment of deportation for X would be disproportionate. The criminal convictions were the result of unfortunate circumstance rather than suggesting true criminal intent.
We also presented legal arguments to the Minister of Immigration around the best interests of X’s New Zealand citizen son, under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCROC). You can read the UNCROC here. There are Court decisions saying that decision makers such as Immigration New Zealand must consider the best interests of a New Zealand citizen child in line with this Convention. In X’s case we presented legal arguments to the Minister that it would be to the detriment of the New Zealand citizen son for his parent be forced to leave New Zealand and no longer have contact, particularly given the Family Court order in favour of X due to concerns about whether the care provided by the ex-partner was appropriate or safe.
This case was considered by the Minister of Immigration himself and the decision was made not to reactivate X’s deportation liability. A further decision was made by the Minister a few weeks later to cancel X’s deportation liability completely.
This was a good outcome! It ought to be noted that X was a well-educated migrant with a strong work history. The events that occurred show that no-one is immune to unfortunate events such as this.
This file was primarily managed by our Staff Solicitor, James Turner.