The government has been accused of treating a group of Indian tertiary students unfairly by moving to deport them.
Immigration lawyer Alastair McClymont said the nine students, who had been studying in Auckland, have been served with deportation notices because their India-based agent used fake documents to get them into the country.
Mr McClymont said the students got their student visas through an education agent based in India, who submitted fraudulent documents on their behalf.
The students had no idea fake documents were used, and deporting them for something that was not their fault was wrong, he said.
The students had each spent about $30,000 on their studies and were about to graduate.
"It's extremely unfair because all of these students were victims of a scam by their agents, they knew nothing about the frauded documents. They've now spent their life savings, families have taken out huge loans to pay for their studies here in New Zealand, they're about to graduate, now Immigration are saying you're going to be deported, you're out of here," he said.
Mr McClymont said the students should be allowed to stay, just like the hundreds of Filipino dairy workers who were allowed to remain last year despite their agents having submitted similar fake documents.
"The facts of the two situations are exactly the same, except I suppose the dairy farmers have a lot of clout in getting their local MPs and Ministers to grant the amnesty. In this situation, the students have already spent their money here in New Zealand, they've already paid the schools, so I suppose Immigration New Zealand see them as being expendable now."
Mr McClymont said he would be submitting an application to the Minister of Immigration, Michael Woodhouse, requesting that the students' deportation be cancelled.
"I hope the Minister is going to exercise the same discretion that he did with the Filipino workers and allow them to stay as well."
Afraid to face family
Manoj Narra is one of the students facing deportation and says he is struggling to sleep and too scared to go home to face his family.
Mr Narra's family spent about $15,000 sending him to New Zealand so he could be the first person in his family to get a tertiary education.
He arrived late last year to do a business course and was due to graduate this year.
He said he was not to blame for the fraudulent documents and fears facing his family.
"I feel totally bad because I can't see even my family faces because everyone was putting a lot of hope on me that I can achieve in my family something.
"How can I face them?"
Mr Narra said he did not understand why Immigration New Zealand was taking such a strong stance against him, when he was the one who was cheated.