Tribunal says Tongan woman must be deported, but may apply for new visa

Tu'utu'uni ke fakafoki ki Tonga mei Nu'u Sila ha fefine ta'u 18 hili 'eni 'ene tu'uta he fonua' ni he 2017.

The New Zealand Immigration and Protection Tribunal has ordered an 18-year-old Tongan woman to be deported.

The woman applied for a visitor’s visa to come to New Zealand in October 2017.

She said the purpose of her visit was to attend a birthday celebration in New Zealand on January 13, 2018.

On this basis, she was granted a visitor’s visa valid to January 31, 2018.

In January 2018, the appellant applied for a further visa for seven  more months on the grounds that she wanted to spend more time with her family and do sightseeing in New Zealand.

She promised that she would not breach her travel condition, but would return to her home country well before her visa was due to expire. She was granted another visitor visa, valid until September 2018.

In May 2018, her application for special registration under the Pacific Quotas scheme for Tonga was unsuccessful.

The appellant became unlawfully in New Zealand on 15 September 2018.

The Tribunal said the woman had entered and was allowed to stay in New Zealand on temporary visas without entitlement to, or legitimate expectation of, ongoing immigration status.

“She was well aware that her visitor visas allowed her only a limited time in New Zealand, and she undertook to return to her home country well before her visa was due to expire,” the Tribunal said.

“She has, however, remained here for four months after the expiry of her visa.

“In Tonga, the appellant will return to the place where she has lived the   great majority of her life, and where she is well familiar with the local language and lifestyle.

“She will be reunited with her parents, younger siblings and wider family. By contrast, she has lived only a short period in New Zealand”.

The Tribunal said that while deportation could cause her, her grandmother and other family members disappointment and emotional upset, the High Court had held that test of “exceptional circumstances of a humanitarian nature” could not be equated with compassionate factors.

The Tribunal said it was not satisfied that she had met the high threshold required for exceptional circumstances of a humanitarian nature and must be deported.

However, it said that on her return to Tonga the woman could apply for further visas to return   to New Zealand.

The decision on any such application would lie with Immigration New Zealand and the Tribunal could not provide any guarantees in this regard.

The main points

  • The New Zealand Immigration and Protection Tribunal has ordered an 18 year old Tongan woman to be deported.
  • The Tribunal said the woman had entered and was allowed to stay in New Zealand on temporary visas without entitlement to, or legitimate expectation of, ongoing immigration status.

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