17 October 2011

Immigration New Zealand issues visa to keep family together

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New Zealand immigration authorities have decided to overturn a decision to deport a migrant family for overstaying NZ visa.

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Immigration New Zealand has issued a reprieve to a family due to be deported after a public campaign from a former immigration minister.

Immigration New Zealand (INZ) has announced a reprieve for a family due to be deported to India after the intervention of a local MP and successful lobbying campaign by immigration advisor and former minister Tuariki Delamere.

The family - Balvir Kumar, Meena Kumari and their three children - is originally from India and was earlier this year found to be illegally overstaying their New Zealand visa and issued with a deportation notice. New Zealand Associate Minister for Immigration Kate Wilkinson said that while breaching New Zealand immigration laws is a serious offence, the Government has taken personal circumstances into account.

"I am very disappointed at Mr and Mrs Kumar's apparent disregard for New Zealand's immigration law," Mrs Wilkinson said.

"Nevertheless, I am willing to grant the family one final reprieve.

"I am instructing INZ to cancel the deportation orders of Mr Kumar, Mrs Kumari and their daughter, Navisha."

The Kumar family's case attracted considerable publicity when the couple told the media they were considering leaving their children - two of which are New Zealand citizens - as orphans in New Zealand rather than have them return to their former home in a Punjab slum.

Former New Zealand immigration minister Tuariki Delamere, who is engaged as an advisor to the Kumar Family, said the case highlighted a flaw in the New Zealand immigration system whereby thousands of children face deportation due to changes to citizenship laws introduced in 2006 and called on the Government to adopt a more compassionate approach.

"This is about balancing the interests and rights of INZ to deport the parents and the interests and rights of the children to live in New Zealand with Mum and Dad," Mr Delamere said in September.

The decision to overturn the deportation charge was also aided by a plea from Craig Foss, the Kumars' local MP in the seat of Tukituki in the city of Hastings.

The family has been issued with a one-day visa which reverted their status as "overstayers" and allows them 42 days to make an appeal to the Immigration and Protection Tribunal.

New Zealand Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in helping people emigrate to New Zealand.

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