17 Feb 2017

Deportation of Indian students put on hold

7:04 pm on 17 February 2017

A temporary hold has been put on deporting group of Indian students while they negotiate a deal to leave voluntarily.

Indian students facing deportation

Some of the Indian students facing deportation. Photo: RNZ / Bradley White

Ten people, including students and their family members, have been staying in Ponsonby's Unitarian Church during the day in a final bid to stay in the country.

Deportation orders were issued after it was found the students' India-based education agents submitted fraudulent documents on their behalf.

Their lawyer, Alastair McClymont, said the Immigration Department had told him it was now willing to negotiate terms that would allow the students to re-apply for student visas after they have returned to India.

Mr McClymont said that meant the students would not be deported and would not have a black mark against their name for future attempts to enter the country.

He said the Immigration Department has given a deadline of 22 February for the students to leave voluntarily.

Immigration New Zealand denied it could "do a deal" with the Indian students.

It said it was considering a request from the lawyer for some of the students to allow them to leave the country voluntarily.

The department said its position remained that the students must leave the country.

Protester organisers want the government to overturn their deportation and allow them to complete their courses.

Protesters wanted the government to overturn their deportation and allow them to complete their courses. Photo: RNZ / Mohamed Hassan

Meanwhile, one of the students, Sujath Ullah Baig Mirza, was put on a flight to India this afternoon.

Just before the flight, Mr Mirza said he was picked up on Wednesday, and had spent two nights in police cells.

He said it had been a nightmare, and he felt like he had spoiled his career by being in New Zealand to try and get an education, and ending up with nothing.