8 May 2023

Pasifika overstayer detained after dawn raid granted temporary visa

7:02 pm on 8 May 2023
Residence visa application form

The man's family were still asleep when police showed up at his home. Photo: RNZ / Samuel Rillstone

A Pasifika overstayer who was detained after a dawn raid in South Auckland last month has been granted a temporary visa and will no longer be deported.

The man's lawyer, Soane Foliaki, said police showed up at the man's home at 5am, scaring his children and taking him into custody - and though Immigration NZ disputed the timing, it admitted the early morning raid was not a one-off.

Two years ago the government apologised for the infamous dawn raids of the 1970s.

The man's lawyer, Soane Foliaki, said associate Immigration Minister Rachel Brooking reviewed the case and approved the temporary visa on Thursday.

It means the man is now eligible to apply for residency.

"We're grateful for that. What it does is allows him to file a formal application for residency based on his marriage and his family."

Foliaki said the man would need to prove to the minister that he was in a genuine and stable relationship, in order to be granted residence, and "he is well beyond that".

The man was relieved to be granted a temporary visa, he said.

"Over the top. Really really happy. His issue became kind of political being a dawn raid but he's only aware of that to a particular limit," Foliaki said.

"It's become bigger than him but for him personally and his family they're really happy. All he ever wanted was to go to work, he's a construction worker, and provide for his family and live peacefully here in New Zealand."

The temporary visa had come through "really by political pressure", he said.

Immigration New Zealand has been approached for comment.

Foliaki said the man was detained for three days and two nights at Manukau Police Station before being released hours before he was due to be deported.

"It's not a nice place for somebody who's not a criminal."

The dawn raid caused the man and his family unnecessary harm, he said.

Immigration New Zealand has launched a review into what it calls 'out of hours compliance visits' and paused all such operations until the review has been completed.

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