Immigration New Zealand urged to stay deportations

Chief Ombudsman Beverley Wakem says she will ask Immigration New Zealand not to deport any overstayer who comes forward to try to get a visa under a new ruling.

The department is giving some people three months to apply for a visa after admitting to mishandling a residency drive among Pacific Island people in late 2004 and early 2005.

Auckland Tongan leader Melino Maka says he has heard of some people being deported in the last three months as a result of the botch up.

Radio New Zealand asked Immigration New Zealand if it would give any assurances to people involved.

It says overstayers are not eligible for reassessment if they've been served with a deportation order at all, or if eight years ago they were subject to a removal order.

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