Tribunal rules staying in New Zealand would be in best interests of woman and her children

    The New Zealand Immigration and Protection Tribunal has ordered that a Tongan woman be granted a residence visa.

    The woman arrived in New Zealand in 2011. She had been granted a limited general visa for one month to enable her to visit one of her brothers here. She was pregnant and  gave birth to her son in June 2011.   He is a   New Zealand citizen by birth.

    The son’s father is a Tongan citizen with residence  in New Zealand.   The appellant applied for a further visitor visa in June 2011,  but her application was declined.  She has remained in New Zealand illegally since then.

    She married another man in 2014, after giving birth to a child to him. The Tribunal was told her husband was frequently violent to her and her young son.

    Subsequently she was granted a temporary protection order against her husband and a Family Court order preventing the daughter’s  removal from New Zealand. 

    She later moved to live with her brother and his family.

    The Tribunal was told the woman could not return to Tonga because she would have no means of independent financial support there. 

    She had no qualifications and little work experience. Her parents were dead and her brother there could not provide her with financial support.

    The Tribunal was told the woman and her daughter were an integral part of her brother’s  family unit in New Zealand. There was broad family support for them in New Zealand.

    The Tribunal said that deporting the woman would clearly not be in the best interests  of her daughter. Her daughter had only lived in New Zealand and, as a New Zealand citizen, was  entitled to enjoy the benefits of the New Zealand education and health system.

    The woman had considered leaving her daughter in New Zealand with family members, but did not want to be separated from her daughter.

    The Tribunal ruled that the woman had exceptional circumstances of a humanitarian nature that would make it unjust or unduly harsh for her to be deported from New Zealand.

    “The appellant has been living in New Zealand for eight years,” the Tribunal said.

    “She has two New Zealand-citizen children and her family members, to whom she is close, are well-established here.

    “Weighing the adverse public interest considerations (the length of the appellant’s unlawful status in New Zealand) against the public  interest considerations favouring the appellant remaining in New Zealand (her clear health status and good character, and family nexus to New Zealand, and the best interests of her two New Zealand-citizen children), the Tribunal is satisfied  that it would not be contrary to   the public interest to allow the appellant to remain in New Zealand.”


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