20 Mar 2019

Immigration New Zealand wrongly cancels mans visa, stranding him

11:07 am on 20 March 2019

A man was stranded at a Chinese airport for 20 hours because of an error made by Immigration New Zealand.

Immigration to New Zealand.

Immigration to New Zealand. Photo: RNZ

Chinese worker Mao Qunyou has worked as a brick layer in Auckland since 2017 and went on holiday to China for New Year celebrations in January.

But when he went to fly back to work last week, he was told by the airline that Immigration NZ had cancelled his work visa.

Mr Mao said he was startled because his visa was not due to expire until October.

"I just sat at the airport. I didn't sleep at all. I waited for the whole night. I didn't know what to do," Mr Mao said.

He stayed at the airport for 20 hours, contacting different people and trying to figure out what to do.

Immigration NZ told him his visa was cancelled because he was not employed by Stone Creations, the employer specified on his visa.

That was incorrect, Mr Mao said.

Eventually, disappointed and confused, he travelled several hours back to his home town.

The next day he received a new work visa from Immigration NZ, which had the same conditions as the previous one, he said.

Immigration NZ manager Michael Carley said later "an error was made in the cancellation of Mr Mao's visa".

"INZ has been in touch with the employer who has confirmed that they still intend to employ Mr Mao. Therefore, the grounds for cancelling the visa were not correct and the visa has been granted again," Mr Carley said.

The agency said it was not considering any compensation for Mr Mao who said he had lost time and about $1000 on transport.

Mr Mao planned to fly to New Zealand this week and said it would be unfair if he had to pay for Immigration NZ's mistake.

He was among the group of Chinese workers brought to New Zealand by Peter Li, a labour agent who was under investigation by Immigration NZ.