you’re here “unlawfully” (illegally) – for example, if your visa has now expired but you’ve stayed in the country
you’re here lawfully on a current Temporary Visa or Residence Class Visa, but you’ve done something wrong, like breaking the law or breaching the conditions of your visa (for example, working when you’ve only got a visitor’s visa).
When you can be deported
As soon as you’re in New Zealand “unlawfully” (illegally) – for example, if your visa has expired – you have a legal obligation to leave the country, and you can be deported after a certain time if you haven’t left voluntarily.
As a Temporary Visa holder, you can be deported for the following reasons:
Breaching visa conditions – if you’ve breached any of the conditions of your visa (for example, if you work while you have only a Visitor Visa)
Withholding information – if Immigration New Zealand find out that you held back relevant information when you applied for your visa
False identity – if you applied for and got your current visa under a false identity
Change in your situation – if your situation no longer meets the rules or qualifying requirements under which your visa was granted
Committing crimes – if you’re convicted of a criminal offence
“Character” problems or other good reasons – if Immigration NZ has some other “sufficient reason” for deporting you, including something about your character
Mistakes (“administrative error”) – if Immigration NZ granted you your visa by mistake (for example, if you were in fact disqualified from getting a visa in the first place because of a criminal record).
As the holder of a Resident Visa or a Permanent Resident Visa, you can be deported for the following reasons:
Committing crimes – if you’re convicted, whether in New Zealand or another country, of committing a criminal offence, but only if
it’s an offence for which you could have been jailed for three months or more, and
you committed the offence while you were in New Zealand unlawfully, or while you held a Temporary Visa, or during the first two years of your residence
Breaching visa conditions – if you’ve breached any of the conditions of your visa (for example, it might have been a condition of a Resident Visa under the Skilled Migrant Category that you accept an offer of skilled employment within three months)
Fraud, forgery, misinformation – if Immigration New Zealand find out you gave them false, fraudulent, forged or misleading information, or that you held back relevant information, when you applied for your visa
False identity – if you’re holding your visa under a false identity
New character information – if, within five years after you obtained your first Resident Visa, Immigration NZ gets new information about your “character” that existed at the time they granted you the visa and that would have disqualified you from getting the visa had they known about it
Mistakes (“administrative error”) – if Immigration NZ granted your visa by mistake (for example, if you shouldn’t have been given a visa in the first place because your criminal record legally disqualified you)
Security risk – if you’re a current threat to New Zealand’s defence or security, including security against terrorism, spying and organised crime (but this requires a certificate from the Minister of Immigration and an Order in Council from the government).
If you’ve been recognised as a refugee, you can be deported only if:
you’ve committed very serious crimes or are a threat to New Zealand national security, or
your refugee status has been cancelled because you obtained it through fraud or forgery.
Process and time limits for being deported if you’re here unlawfully
If your visa has expired and you’re therefore in New Zealand unlawfully, Immigration New Zealand doesn’t have to give you any notice that now you may be deported. (This contrasts with deportation of visa holders, who must be given a deportation liability notice: see below.)
You have the right to appeal against your deportation to the Immigration and Protection Tribunal on humanitarian grounds. You have six weeks (42 days) to appeal to the Tribunal – the six weeks is counted from when your unlawful status begins (that is, when your visa expired). You can’t be deported unless and until you’ve appealed and lost your appeal, or until the time for appealing has passed if you don’t appeal.
To deport you, Immigration NZ have to give you a deportation order. The earliest they can do this is 28 days after you lose your appeal (or, if you didn’t appeal, on the day after the six-week appeal limit has passed). Once they’ve given you the deportation order, Immigration NZ can take you into custody (which could mean holding you in jail) and then take you to an airport or port.
After they’ve made a deportation order, you can still ask Immigration NZ to cancel the order. They have a broad power to do this.
When I will be notified if I’m going to be deported?
If you hold a current New Zealand visa and Immigration New Zealand wants to deport you, they have to start the process by giving you a “deportation liability notice”.
If they plan to deport you because you no longer have a valid visa and so are now here unlawfully, they don’t have to give you a deportation liability notice.
The deportation liability notice will give you important information about your case, including:
why you’re being deported and the particular section in the Immigration Act 2009 that Immigration NZ are relying on
what appeal rights you have
whether you’ll be barred from returning to New Zealand after you’re deported, and for how long
whether you’ll have to repay the New Zealand government the costs of deporting you.
What happens after I’m given a deportation liability notice?
Getting a deportation liability notice doesn’t mean you can be deported straightaway – it simply begins the process. You have various appeal rights (depending on what kind of visa you’ve got and why they’re deporting you) that you can use before you’re deported.
Only after you’ve had the chance to use your appeal rights can Immigration NZ then make a deportation order and force you to leave the country.
After they’ve made a deportation order, you can still ask Immigration New Zealand to cancel the order. They have a broad power to do this.
How can I challenge my deportation?
In the following cases, you’ll have two weeks (14 days) after you get a deportation liability notice to challenge your deportation by giving Immigration New Zealand a good reason why you shouldn’t be deported:
if you’re a Temporary Visa holder and Immigration NZ are deporting you because you breached your visa conditions, or committed a crime, or for some other “sufficient reason”
if Immigration NZ made a mistake in giving you a Temporary Visa or Residence Class Visa (for example if you were in fact legally disqualified from getting a New Zealand visa)
if Immigration NZ are claiming that you obtained your Temporary Visa or Residence Class Visa using a false identity.
You’ll also usually have the right to challenge your deportation by appealing to the Immigration and Protection Tribunal, either on the grounds that Immigration NZ are wrong that they’re legally justified in deporting you (called appealing “on the facts”) or on the grounds that there are exceptional humanitarian circumstances in your case. You’ll usually have four weeks (28 days) after getting the deportation liability notice to appeal to the Tribunal.
However, if you’re being deported for being here unlawfully, you have six weeks (42 days) to appeal, counting from the first day your immigration status was unlawful (that is, the day after your visa expired).
Getting a final deportation order
If you challenge your deportation and Immigration New Zealand turns you down, they can serve a deportation order on you the day after they tell you they’ve decided they’re still going to deport you. They can take you into custody – which could mean jail – and then take you to an airport or port. If you didn’t challenge the deportation, they can’t serve a deportation order on you until 15 days after giving you the initial deportation liability notice. Once you’ve been deported, you can’t be granted a visa or entry permission for five years.
Appealing against deportation to the Immigration and Protection Tribunal