2 Sep 2015

Drug trafficker's children to appeal deportation

2:21 pm on 2 September 2015

The Supreme Court has granted an appeal to two Chinese children facing deportation for their father's drug convictions.

Coat of Arms

The Supreme Court has allowed Jiaxi and Jiaming Guo to appeal the Immigration and Protection Tribunal's decision in the High Court. Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson

In its judgment, the court said Jiaxi and Jiaming Guo have been living in New Zealand for years, and moving back to China would be a considerable upheaval.

Their parents, Jianyong Guo and Meihua Hong, moved to New Zealand in 2002, with then 11-year-old Jiaxi.

The couple's second child, Ellen, was born in 2004 and Jiaming was born in 2006, about six months before the family was granted residency. While Ellen is a New Zealand citizen, Jiaming is not, due to a change to the Citizenship Act in 2005.

Read the full judgment by the Supreme Court (PDF, 122KB)

The father was later sent to prison for importing pseudoephedrine, a main ingredient in methamphetamine.

"He had embarked on this enterprise prior to residency being granted and had not disclosed this to Immigration New Zealand," the ruling said.

"His non-disclosure of his involvement in drug importation was material to the grants of residency."

As a result, Mr Guo, his two non-New Zealand children and his wife would face deportation.

Ms Hong has since returned to China, but Jiaxi and Jiaming, now aged 24 and nine respectively, went to the Immigration and Protection Tribunal, arguing their deportation would be unjust and unduly harsh.

The tribunal dismissed their appeals, and the High Court and Court of Appeal also turned them down.

The Supreme Court has now allowed the appeal to the High Court, saying both were well-settled in New Zealand.

"Forced removal to China would be a considerable upheaval," the ruling said.

"As well, their future prospects in China [and particularly those of Jiaming] might be thought to have been less favourable than they would be in New Zealand."

The court said the pair had done nothing wrong, and these considerations warrant "careful analysis of the basis upon which the decision was reached".

"There is an arguable question whether the tribunal erred in law in concluding that it would not be unjust or unduly harsh to deport Jiaxi and Jiaming from New Zealand," it said.