25 September 2012

Charity demands New Zealand visa rule change

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Women's Refuge, a domestic abuse charity organisation, has slammed a New Zealand visa law which could see a victimised family deported for reporting the abuse.

New Zealand visa

The Women's Refuge does not agree that a family should risk being deported for reporting domestic violence.

An unnamed teenage migrant reported his violently abusive father last year; the man was jailed and deported but now the rest of the family also face the prospect of deportation, having no valid New Zealand visa of their own.

The teenager, who refused to reveal his name to the Taranaki Daily News, said he wished he had never reported the abuse now.

Heather Henare, chief executive of the Women's Refuge, slammed the law as a 'loophole for abuse', calling for an immediate government review of the policy to prevent abusive partners from threatening people with deportation if they report abuse.

"Men who are abusive and have control over a visa requirement are provided by law with a fantastic weapon to keep their behaviour undetected from the outside world," said Ms Henare.

"In this case it was the brave actions of a great young man than helped to save his mother. It is terrible that this has turned into him regretted his actions.

"He should be treated like a hero for speaking out."

Immigration Minister Nathan Guy confirmed the policy would be looked at in the near future.

Jodie List, casework manager at the New Zealand Visa Bureau, says with such a multitude of eventualities, it can be hard to account for every one during formulating a law.

"Laws try and be as far and clear as possible but there will also be exceptions that need addressing and it is unfortunate that the necessity to do so is usually created after events such as this," said Ms List.

The New Zealand Visa Bureau is an independent migration consultancy that specialises in helping people apply for a New Zealand Working Holiday Visa.

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