The New Zealand Immigration and Protection Tribunal has ordered a Tongan family to be deported.
The family had appealed on humanitarian grounds to be allowed to stay.
The family consisted of a husband, 40 and a wife 38 and their four children, who were born in New Zealand.
The parents arrived in New Zealand in September 2005 and married in Auckland in November that year. When their final visitor visas expired in June 2006, they remained here unlawfully.
In October 2016, Immigration New Zealand refused to grant the appellants and their children visitor visas.
In October 2018 the parents and their children were granted one-day visitor visas to enable them to lodge humanitarian appeals.
The Tribunal was told the family lived with and cared for the wife’s recently widowed mother who is Ill. The wife’s parents became New Zealand residents in 2005.
All five children were born in New Zealand. The three eldest are well-settled in school.
The family’ relative in Tonga live in overcrowded conditions with the husband’s two brothers and their 10 children sharing the family home. Their plantation suffered damage in Cyclone Gita.
The Tribunal was told it would be extremely difficult for the appellants to restart their lives in Tonga and adequately support their children.
In reaching it decision, the Tribunal said that returning to Tonga would involve a period of hardship as the family re-established itself. However, both parent came from families based on Tongatapu and still had many extended family members there.
The husband would need to find employment and the family may have to live in crowded conditions for a time until he did so and resolve the family’s long-term housing needs. The family’s living arrangements and overall circumstances would not be exceptional in a Tongan context.
Staying in New Zealand would avoid the disruption to the children that returning to Tonga would entail and would maintain their present standard of living. It would therefore be in their best interests, generally, to stay in New Zealand.
However, none of the children had any health or other vulnerabilities. Any hardship they may experience on initial arrival in Tonga, most particularly because of overcrowding in the husband’s family home, would not necessarily be permanent.
The Tribunal ordered that the deportation of the wife and children be delayed for four months to allow the husband to return before the rest of the family to seek work and explore how best to accommodate the family.
The main points
- The New Zealand Immigration and Protection Tribunal has ordered a Tongan family to be deported.
- The family had appealed on humanitarian grounds to be allowed to stay.