In June of this year, news media reported two deportation decisions made by the compliance division of Immigration New Zealand (INZ).
The first case involved a Mr Middleton, who immigrated to New Zealand and was detained with a view to deportation after having lived in New Zealand since he was four years old. He complained to the Minister of Immigration about his treatment by INZ.
The second case involved Ms L. She was deported following her making a complaint as a victim of a serious crime. In April 2018 MP Louisa Wall raised the circumstances of Ms L’s deportation with the Minister of Immigration. When INZ management became aware of her case, her return to New Zealand was facilitated quickly. The Minister granted Ms L a work visa so that she could remain in New Zealand while her complaint was investigated.
As a result of these deportation decisions the Chief Executive of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) commissioned an external review into the detention and deportation activities of INZ. The terms of reference for the review were published on 8 June 2018 (and are annexed at Appendix 1).
The legality of the decisions made by the Compliance Officers and their respective managers were assessed as sound on internal review. However, there were questions raised around how cases had been handled, why cases had been prioritised and whether Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) and their application were operating effectively