Immigration New Zealand softens stance on Indian students in Auckland

Supporters of the students have held rallies at the Unitarian Church in central Auckland.
JASON DORDAY/FAIRFAX NZ

Supporters of the students have held rallies at the Unitarian Church in central Auckland.

A group of Indian students sheltering from deportation in a church may be able to reapply for visas from their home country.

The news comes after a group of students said they and 190 others had been ripped off by Indian immigration agents, who lied on official forms without their knowledge.

Immigration NZ said the group had no choice but to return.

The students want to be allowed to stay in New Zealand.
LAWRENCE SMITH/FAIRFAX NZ

The students want to be allowed to stay in New Zealand.

But on Friday their lawyer Alastair McClymont said officials had made an offer to the students in an attempt to resolve the situation.

READ MORE:
Immigration confirms it will deport one of the Indian students seeking sanctuary

* Religious leaders speak out over Indian students' deportation

Terms could be negotiated that would allow the students to re-apply for student visas from India.

The group of students have been bracing themselves for deportation
LAWRENCE SMITH/FAIRFAX NZ

The group of students have been bracing themselves for deportation

This would not have been an option if they had been deported or had already departed, he said.

The nine students had an undertaking from Immigration NZ they would not be deported before February 22 to allow them to negotiate and reach an agreement.

But they would be required to leave after that.

There were emotional scenes at the Unitarian Church on Wednesday.
LAWRENCE SMITH/FAIRFAX NZ

There were emotional scenes at the Unitarian Church on Wednesday.

Just how solid the offer is remains unclear, however.

Ad Feedback

In a statement Immigration NZ general manager Stephen Vaughan confirmed it had undertaken to not deport the students until February 22.

But he said there had been no offer or deal put forward by Immigration NZ and McClymont had suggested the voluntary departure offer himself.

Immigration NZ's position remained the same, that the student's must depart the country, he said.

On Wednesday one of the students was detained by immigration and was facing deportation.

Immigration New Zealand area manager Alistair Murray confirmed one of the students was being held in custody.

Travel arrangements were being made for him to leave New Zealand.

The rest of the group and supporters had sought asylum at a central Auckland church since last Monday.

The students had been sleeping at the houses of members of the congregation and had been advised not to go home. 

Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse has said that people were ultimately responsible for the accuracy of their visa documentation.

He said it was no excuse for the students to claim they were unaware of their agents' activities.

Rev Clay Nelson, whose church had offered the students shelter, said it was almost certain they would leave voluntarily before the deadline.

On Saturday a gathering would be held at the church so the students could thank their supporters, he said.

"We didn't get the outcome we were looking for but we've shined the light on the fact there's something seriously wrong going on here."

 - Stuff

Ad Feedback
special offers
Auckland

Sayers opposes 'pillow tax'

Rodney Councillor Greg Sayers has spoken out against Mayor Phil Goff's "pillow tax".

Rodney Councillor Greg Sayers is lending his voice to a number of Auckland accommodation providers unhappy with Phil Goff's controversial "pillow tax".

Big animals, big money

Anjalee arrived at Auckland Zoo in July 2015, as part of a programme that cost $3.2 million.

Auckland Zoo spent $120,000 on giant weta and $3.2m on elephants in recent times

Power out after fire

Power is out around Westmere and Herne Bay on Tuesday night after a transformer caught fire.

More than 500 homes are without power after a transformer caught fire.

Traffic builds after crash

Traffic builds along the north western motorway following a crash.

The crash happened on the northwestern motorway but congestion is back to Spaghetti Junction.

Wellington

Hutt's infill housing dilemma video

Real estate agent John Ross supports building apartments in suburban shopping centres, but believes the best way to get ...

Realtor says greenfield developments, not infill, will solve Lower Hutt's housing shortage.

Our crowded schools

Newtown School was operating at 142 per cent capacity, according to Ministry of Education figures.

Almost a quarter of Wellington region's schools at risk of overcrowding, or already over capacity.

Plan for ATM no-beggar zones

Beggars near an ATM machine in Manners St, Wellington, on Tuesday. Businesses in the city consider it to be one of the ...

Wellington businesses want perimeters marked around ATMs to prevent intimidation of customers.

Light rail 'not as easy as it sounds'

An artist's impression of what light rail advocates hoped trams running along Lambton Quay would look like.

Engineering expert points out that simply switching from bus to light rail is not simple.

Canterbury

Paraplegic to cycle marathon video

Walker was made a paraplegic in a 2006 cycling accident.

Ian Walker has waited seven years to take part in the Christchurch Marathon on his hand-bike.

Full schools revealed

A Ministry of Education report reveals 214 schools around the country are considered over capacity, while 488 are at ...

Hundreds of schools over capacity or at risk of overcrowding as thousands of extra kids turn up.

Large water bottling plant likely

Taxing bottled water wouldn't make sense: Government

Foreign firm allowed to extract and bottle millions of litres of water a day - likely for free.

Natural Honey factory blaze video

The New Zealand Natural Honey factory in North Canterbury went up in flames on Tuesday afternoon.

Hives full of bees have been burned in a North Canterbury honey factory fire.

Waikato

Costumes at the ready

Debee-May McCarthy, owner of Tops 'N' Tales Costume Hire shop in Hamilton East, is excited the Sevens is coming to town.

The Sevens move to Hamilton is good news for the town's longest running costume store.

Nan guilty in baby case

Donna Catherine Parangi is on trial in the High Court in Rotorua charged with the manslaughter of her grandson Isaiah Neil.

A grandmother charged with manslaughter over the death of her grandson Isaiah Neil has been found guilty.

Tourist lost in the frost

Helicopter pilot Todd Dunham and crewman Bill McNeilly with Batel Rosenkrantz and SAR volunteers Matt Hazard, Dave ...

Rescuers bunked down in sub-zero conditions with a lost Israeli tourist. 

Business backs Sevens video

Lawrenson Group chief executive John Lawrenson is quietly optimistic about Hamilton hosting the sevens.

Bar owner John Lawrenson is optimistic about the Hamilton Sevens, since Dallas Fisher is in charge.

Taranaki

Staying strong in the face of death

Shane Petersen said he has to stay strong for his children CJ, 6, and Chloe, 8.

Dad-of-two Shane Petersen has been told that his days are numbered - but he is refusing to just give up.

Snip, snip, secrets slip

Councillor Graham Kelly was suspended from two council committees after the report was discussed.

Come in for a trim, get a side of confidential information.

Fancy a round with Jordie Barrett

Photo: Reuters - All Blacks captain Richie McCaw

How much would you pay to play golf with Jordie Barrett?

Climber out of depth

Victor Roucher, who died after sliding 490m down Mt Taranaki in June 2016, didn't have the experience to be attempting ...

They were out of their depth and now one of them is dead.

Manawatu

Fast food fan misfire video

UCOL student Jack Townend was surprised an open letter to McDonald's on his Facebook page, complaining about being ...

A complaint on social media needn't be accurate to cause maximum damage.

DHB fails woman video

A baby was stillborn after the MidCentral District Health Board failed to see signs of a life-threatening condition.

Slip-ups from the district health board led to a woman's unborn baby dying.

RSA overhaul

The Ashhurst RSA is working with the Department of Internal Affairs on a probe of its accounts.

Poor procedures lead to a damning review and leadership changes at Ashhurst.

Thumbs up for Makino car park

The Makino Aquatic Centre car park in Council Place is up for a rebuild.

The community has agreed to expand the Makino Aquatic Centre car park. 

Nelson

From party house to art house gallery

Doll heads in a birdcage. Who'd have thought?

This dinky Nelson home has been transformed from party place to artists' abode.

Kaye to save Salisbury?

For now, it remains business as usual at Salisbury School, says Education Minister Nikki Kaye.

​New Education Minister will carefully consider the future of Salisbury School.

Party to prevent youth suicide

Motueka High School students won a competition focused on Maori youth suicide prevention with their concept of an ...

Motueka students are planning a music festival to raise awareness around youth suicide.

Business, aviation leader dies

Robyn Reid with her husband, Bill, and their Avro Anson MK I twin-engined aircraft at an Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre ...

Nelson business icon Robyn Reid died last week but her legacy continues to fly high.

Marlborough

Food cart's unlikely ally

The Wheely Wild Food Cart on the side of State Highway 63 in November.

Roadside food truck was ticking along nicely; then came the quake, the customers, the complaint and the shut down.

SH63 no Autobahn

A tourist late for the ferry was caught doing 151kmh on State Highway 63 in the Wairau Valley in Marlborough. (File photo)

Judge tells German tourist clocked at 151kmh on quake detour "we've got to drive a lot slower here".

Man charged with burglary

Rodney Shane Wright, 45, has been remanded in custody to July 25.

But before pleading, he wants to know what he could be sentenced to.

The battle back from brain surgery

Vernon Fredericks

The road to becoming Crusader No 213 has been far from smooth for Vernon Fredericks.

South Canterbury

New venture for empty site

Bob Mason and business partner Ross Rathgen inside the old Lone Star premises, soon to become the Bullock Restaurant and Bar.

A new restaurant and bar will open in the former Lone Star premises in Timaru. 

Violence before death

The violence surrounding the death of Ashburton man Arran Gairns has been described in the High Court at Timaru.

Jury hears of yelling, splashing and violence on night before man found dead in ditch.

Waimate web plan approved

Waimate District Council has approved $40,000 to develop a marketing website for the district.

Waimate's council to spend up to $40,000 on new website.

School heads back to the 80s

Timaru Girls' High and Timaru Boys' High School students rehearse for their joint production Back to the 80's. Pictured ...

Dig out your leg warmers, crop tops and head back to the 80s with Timaru Girls' this week.

Southland

Limehills school's $400,000 makeover

Limehills School teacher aide Kerry Henderson works with Emma Gill, Makayla Marshall and Liam Hartley, while Angus ...

Limehills has begun the new term with a $400,000 makeover which has transformed the school.

Schools ditching fizzy

Middle School pupils are excited about drinking water at school as part of a Healthy Families programme Rethink the ...

A local health campaign is encouraging Southland schools to choose water or plain milk.

Gore man jets for Thai waters

Dwayne Terry, left, and Paul Cross of Keelowcraft boat builders in Gore. The commercial sized twin engine jet boat has ...

Thai holidaymakers will soon be enjoying a supercharged sea monster from Gore.

Brothers attack off-duty policeman

An Invercargill policeman was unable to work for a week after he was assaulted while off-duty.

Two Invercargill brothers who attacked an off-duty policeman have been sentenced.

Ad Feedback