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Overstayers / illegal immigrants

This article is about Immigration Policy but it is not a description of policy. In our opinion simplified descriptions of policy are dangerous. If you want to know why we think that, read “Why things go wrong”.

When you came to New Zealand your ticket told you what time to catch your aircraft; and you were not 5 minutes late.
There is a date on the visa in your passport that tells you exactly the date by which you need to be out of New Zealand.
It is one of life’s enduring mysteries that responsible people who were able to catch their plane to New Zealand on time, somehow forget to leave New Zealand on time. It seems that people somehow see “not leaving on time” as a small or technical matter, like being a few days late with tax payments.
But being an illegal immigrant (or “overstayer”) is not a small or “merely technical” matter. Being in New Zealand while in breach of visa conditions (or without a current visa) is treated very seriously and can lead in the end to detention, deportation, an inability to return to New Zealand and difficulties travelling to other countries in the future.
Natural instinct says that handing yourself in to an immigration officer and saying; “I’m an illegal, can you help me?” might not be the best course of action, so even normally sensible people, will often freeze, like animals in the headlights of a truck. But this problem, by its nature, will only get worse, day by day; you do need help and the quicker the better.
Professionals can often overcome illegal status and you are free to talk about your problem without personal risk or financial obligation with one of the licensed advisers or immigration attorneys available through Malcolm Pacific.
  • Be pro-active; keep your eye on the expiry of your visa and do not overstay.
  • If you can see you need an extension, apply, or seek advice, well before expiry.
  • Once you have become an illegal, get help right away; the problem will always get worse if not attended to. The same applies whether you have just become an illegal, or whether you have drifted into the situation over years; asking for help today is always better than asking for it tomorrow.
Read about:
Appeals, general discussion.
Ministerial Intervention.
Appeal to the High Court.
Residence Review Board.
Removal Review Authority.

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