No guarantee overstayers will be granted NZ residence visa if they return to Tonga, advisor warns

‘Oku ‘ikai ha lao ia ‘oku’ ne fakamafai’i ha kau ‘ova ‘i Nu’u Sila ke foki ki Tonga ‘o tā mai ‘enau pepa’ mei ai. Pehē ‘e Koli Vānisi’ 'a ia kuo' ne ma'u laiseni he fale'i faka'imikuleisini 'i Nu'u Sila' ni ‘oku ‘i ai e faingamālie ia ‘o e kau ‘ova ke foki ki Tonga ‘o ‘ahi’ahi na’a lava ‘o fakahū pea tali ai ke foaki ha’anau visa nofo fonua. Ka ‘oku ‘ikai papau ia ‘e tali ‘a e kole ko ia’. Na’a’ ne pehē ko e fale’i totonu ia ke ‘oange ki he kakai ‘ova ‘i Nu’u Sila ni’ ka kuo fakalea ia ‘e ha ni’ihi 'o pehē ke nau puna ki Tonga 'o tā mai 'enau pepa' mei ai. 'Oku 'ikai tonu ia, fakatatau ki he lau 'a Vānisi'.

A Tongan licensed Immigration Advisor has warned that New Zealand has no law allowing overstayers to be granted a resident visa if they return to the kingdom and apply for it there.

Koli Vānisi of the Pacific Immigration Consultancy & Services Ltd, said some people (“fa’ahinga ‘e ni’ihi”) in New Zealand misled Tongan overstayers about having a New Zealand residence visa granted in Tonga.

He told Kaniva News there was an opportunity for overstayers to return and apply for a resident visa in Tonga, but there was no guarantee that their application would be successful.  He said this should be the advice given to the overstayers.

Vānisi said he had explained the law and policy to a number of clients, but they ignored it and sought advice from other people who told them to return to Tonga and obtain their resident visa there.

He said most of these returning overstayers got stuck in the kingdom and never returned. Some of them contacted him seeking advice.

He said immigration advisors should tell people right from the begining when they assessed their clients’ immigration visa application whether they had a chance of getting a visa or not.

Vānisi said the only person in Tonga who held a New Zealand immigration advisor’s licence was Mele Nau.

Under New Zeland Immigration laws, people entering the country on a visa were not allowed to stay after their visa expired.

If they did remain in New Zealand after their visa had expired they would be liable for deportation.

Overstayers

Earlier this month Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway defended a profiling programme that is being tested  by his department to identify people who are likely to be overstayers.

Tongan Advisory Council Melino Maka claimed the programme was racist and said people from the Pacific Islands could be unfairly targeted.

In February an immigration agent claimed 61 Tongans were facing deportation to Tonga in the aftermath of Cyclone Gita, but this was denied by the Minister.

Most overstayers in New Zealand are from Tonga, Samoa and China.

The main points

  • A Tongan licensed Immigration Advisor has warned that New Zealand has no law allowing overstayers to be granted a residence visa if they return to the kingdom and apply for it there.
  • Koli Vānisi of the Pacific Immigration Consultancy & Services told Kaniva News there was an opportunity for overstayers to return and apply for a residence visa in Tonga, but there was no guarantee that their application would be successful.
  • He said some people (“fa’ahinga ‘e ni’ihi”) in New Zealand misled Tongan overstayers.

For more information 

Deportation modelling ‘bringing back the dawn raids’

Fears over deportations to cyclone-ravaged Tonga

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