9 May 2013

New Zealand immigration service denies breaching overstayers' rights

3:15 pm on 9 May 2013

Immigration New Zealand is rejecting claims it has breached the rights of overstayers to legal advice before being deported.

The lawyer for two Tongan overstayers arrested in the North Island city of Gisborne has complained to the New Zealand Ombudsman that the men were denied legal advice and an interpreter for their final interview to plead their case to stay.

But the national manager for immigration compliance, Peter Elms, says the service has done its own investigation into the complaints.

"I'm satisfied that in both of those cases that we have not acted contrary to what we are required to do. And we have provided access or at least notified the clients of their ability to access a lawyer."

Peter Elms says overstayers arrested to be deported are told three times of their right to a lawyer but some don't want one at their final interview.