Deportation to Fiji a return to abuse

LAIRD HARPER
Last updated 05:00 21/09/2012

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A teenage immigrant is worried about his family's safety after learning they will be sent back to Fiji from Taranaki because he stood up to domestic violence.

He and his family join others who have left volatile surroundings only to find they effectively became illegal immigrants because they had no independent visa status.

The young man, who would be known only as "Nick" for fear of being bullied at school, broke his silence yesterday.

In a two-page letter to the Taranaki Daily News he says he had been let down by a "mean" law that tied his family to his violent father's visa.

Late last year, he woke to find his father beating his mother but instead of cowering in a corner he called police.

His father was arrested and jailed last year, and then deported a few months ago.

The wife was attached to her husband's work visa and was now fighting a losing battle to remain in New Zealand with her two sons.

Immigration New Zealand turned down his mother's application for a work visa because a Kiwi can do her job, and the family could be deported as early as the beginning of next year.

Racked with guilt, Nick now wishes he had gone back to bed and said nothing about the incident.

"If I knew this would all happen, I wouldn't have called the police. I will never call them again."

He was now disillusioned by the Government's reaction.

"Why are we being punished? Why is our life being destroyed?"

He fears returning home will mean a return to the violence, because they will have little choice but to live with his father.

"Mum works fulltime and is a good mum who can look after us. When I go to bed now I know we are all safe. I will not know this in my homeland."

HRC Family Counselling Services manager Pam Bassett said until the law changed the Government was allowing victims to be re-victimised.

"It is not the child's responsibility to protect their mother from their father.

"How many other women and children are going to be affected before the Government sees sense?"

Taranaki Safe Families Trust co-ordinator Marion James said it was sad to see a child become the victim of a New Zealand law.

"Like any law it will take a lot of hard work, over a long period of time, to make changes."

However, hope appears to be on the horizon.

Immigration Minister Nathan Guy said the Government would soon be reviewing the law.

“The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment will be carrying out a review of policies for partners of New Zealand citizens and residents.

"This will include looking at section 4.5 of the Immigration Operational Manual, which deals with residence categories for victims of domestic violence."

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The ministry would consult various community groups, including the Taranaki Community Law Trust, who have written to him about the issue.

In the meantime, Mr Guy said people could appeal to the independent Immigration and Protection Tribunal.

"This is a single, one-stop shop, tribunal to consider all grounds for appeal in one place. It takes into account humanitarian factors in its decisions."

- Taranaki Daily News

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