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If you’re here illegally: Understanding your options

Appealing on special humanitarian grounds

Immigration Act 2009, s 154(2)

Although you can be deported if you’re in New Zealand unlawfully, you can appeal against this on humanitarian grounds. The appeal is dealt with by the Immigration and Protection Tribunal, a court-like body that’s independent of Immigration New Zealand. See “People without visas: Being deported because you’re here unlawfully” in the section “Deportation: Being made to leave New Zealand”.

You have six weeks (42 days) to appeal. This is counted from when your unlawful status began (for example, the day your last visa expired). However, if you had applied unsuccessfully to Immigration NZ for them to reconsider their refusal to grant you another visa, then the six weeks is counted from when they told you they were turning you down, even if that was after your last visa expired.

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Community Law


Your local Community Law Centre can provide free initial legal advice and information.

Immigration New Zealand


Immigration New Zealand is the government organisation that deals with visa applications and other immigration issues. It’s part of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.


You can read Immigration NZ’s Operational Manual at www.immigration.govt.nz/opsmanual

Immigration and Protection Tribunal


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