Signs are emerging that Immigration New Zealand is now taking a firmer stance with people whose offending never sent them to prison. In the past, a small matter might not have attracted a decision of an immigration officer. Now it seems even minor matters can progressed. In a recent article Alex Ashton suggests NZ is following Australia on deportation.
Is NZ following Australia’s “negative attitude” to immigration? Is the bar for deportation was too low? More people are being deported for minor crimes, even though the number of criminals being thrown out of the country after serving a prison sentence has fallen.
Immigration New Zealand is turning its attention to those committing crimes that do not land people in prison. Ninety-seven people were deported in 2010 after having served a prison sentence. That number has fallen gradually since then, and stands at 48 so far this year.
Immigration New Zealand said each case was considered on its own merits – but people with criminal convictions were most likely to be deported. It said people could appeal their deportation notices to an independent tribunal. Association for Migration and Investment director Simon Laurent said the threshold for criminal deportation effectively included every non-trivial offence.He said immigration authorities were just using the tools available to them – but said the law was too heavy-handed at times.
“In a lot of cases, I think it’s using a hammer to kill a snail. It’s over the top for the type of offence these people have committed. But the law allows it, and Immigration New Zealand is entitled to use it.”
If your are concerned about being deported or having your Immigration status changed because you have been prosecuted for a minor crime get in touch with our Immigration team. Minor assaults and theft, which often only garnered a fine or community work are now attracting the attention of Immigration New Zealand. INZ have been able to deport people for such crimes for many years. To read more articles about deportation click here.