9 May 2013

Complaints to Ombudsman over legal rights of overstayers

9:06 am on 9 May 2013

An immigration lawyer says some Pacific overstayers are being denied access to lawyers and interpreters when they're arrested to be deported.

A Wellington law firm has laid complaints with the Ombudsman over the treatment of two Tongan men arrested in Gisborne - one in January and the other this week.

Pacific Legal director Richard Small said Immigration New Zealand ignored their requests for a lawyer and interpreter for their final interview to plead their case to stay.

He said that's a breach of the Immigration Act and the Bill of Rights.

The Law Society says other lawyers report similar problems and the service needs better safeguards for the legal rights of overstayers in detention.

Immigration New Zealand says its procedures are fair and robust.