Nine Indian students facing deportation orders for visa fraud have been told no action will be taken against them today. One Indian Student faces deportation today, confirms NZ Immigration
Their lawyer Alastair McClymont has just told them that Immigration NZ’s compliance operations manager in Wellington had given him “an undertaking that nothing will happen today”.
“He has offered the students the opportunity to depart voluntarily. I have already reported back to the manager that that is not going to happen,” he said.
“He really doesn’t know how he is going to deal with it.”
About 35 journalists and supporters are at the Unitarian Church in Ponsonby, which is sheltering the remaining students after one was detained this morning.
McClymont challenged immigration officials to lay legal charges against the students to allow a judge to decide whether the students intentionally defrauded officials.
“Under the Immigration Act, Immigration NZ has the ability to charge people with an offence of providing a fraudulent document and obtaining benefit from a fraudulent document,” he said.
“By doing that they are able to defend themselves in court.”
He said Immigration NZ had taken the position that the students were guilty because they signed their visa applications.
But Green MP Denise Roche said the students did not know that their agents had submitted fraudulent documents on their behalf.
The nine students and a toddler have been staying at the Unitarian Church in Auckland’s Ponsonby since last Monday, in symbolic sanctuary.
“Having looked at their situation it seems to us that these students have been duped by unscrupulous immigration agents in India,” Richardson said.
“In previous similar cases we understand that where documentation had been deemed falsified by immigration agents then the group was allowed to stay.”
Most of the students were taxpaying workers, according to their visa conditions, and they were contributing to the New Zealand economy, the statement said.
They could not draw New Zealand benefits because they were not citizens or residents.
Immigration NZ’s general manager for visa services, Steve Stuart, said the students had exhausted their options to remain in the country.
They have been invited to leave voluntarily, or “arrangements will be made for them to be deported”.