Stu­dents fac­ing de­por­ta­tion leave NZ

Central Leader - - OUT & ABOUT - BROOKE BATH

Eight In­dian stu­dents who faced de­por­ta­tion from New Zealand for im­mi­gra­tion fraud have vol­un­tar­ily left the coun­try.

Last week the stu­dents said they would be leav­ing vol­un­tar­ily by Fe­bru­ary 27.

Be­fore leav­ing the eight stu­dents pre­sented a case to the Om­buds­man to re­view whether or not they had an op­por­tu­nity to prove they did not know their visa ap­pli­ca­tions to New Zealand were fraud­u­lent, said their lawyer Alas­tair McC­ly­mont.

‘‘[Im­mi­gra­tion New Zealand] are say­ing it doesn’t mat­ter whether they knew about it but we’re say­ing it does,’’ McC­ly­mont said.

The group came to New Zealand on fraud­u­lent stu­dent visas, along with more than 190 oth­ers, and were is­sued de­por­ta­tion no­tices last year.

They claimed they did not know their sup­port­ing visa doc­u­ments were forged by agents in In­dia.

If the com­plaint with the Om­buds­man was suc­cess­ful, McC­ly­mont said they would push to re­view all 150 stu­dents who faced de­por­ta­tion over the fake visas.

He said his clients were con­fi­dent their com­plaint to the Om­buds­man would be up­held.

But he warned them of a three-month wait be­fore any word was given.

In the mean­time, the stu­dents were fo­cussing on how they would ap­ply for le­git­i­mate visas to re­turn to New Zealand and how they would be able to ap­ply for can­cel­la­tion of de­por­ta­tion sta­tus.

‘‘Part of clar­i­fi­ca­tion is con­fir­ma­tion from INZ of what the is­sues will be be­fore the Om­buds­man and when that will be fol­lowed and what’s likely to hap­pen if they are suc­cess­ful in the Om­buds­men com­plaint.

‘‘Prac­ti­cally I’ve ad­vised them that it’s best to wait the out­come of the Om­buds­man in­ves­ti­ga­tion, if they agree to in­ves­ti­gate of course.’’

The stu­dents were anx­ious about re­turn­ing home to In­dia with the shame of be­ing de­ported, but also re­lieved they would not be ar­rested and put in po­lice cells, he said.

Nine In­dian stu­dents and one tod­dler hun­kered down at Pon­sonby’s Uni­tar­ian Church in central Auck­land in early Fe­bru­ary in a fi­nal bid to re­main in the coun­try.

INZ As­sis­tant Gen­eral Man­ager Stephen Vaughan wel­comed the stu­dents vol­un­tar­ily leav­ing but said they would face the usual five-year ban on re­turn­ing to New Zealand.

JASON DOR­DAY/FAIR­FAX NZ

In­dian stu­dents took sanc­tu­ary in a Western Springs church in early Fe­bru­ary.

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