Students facing deportation leave NZ
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.
Indian students took sanctuary in a Western Springs church in early February.