Supporters have turned out to the Unitarian Church in Auckland to farewell eight Indian students threatened with deportation.
Deportation orders were issued after it was found the students' India-based education agents had submitted fraudulent documents for them.
Immigration New Zealand has offered a grace period until Wednesday to allow the students to make their own travel arrangements.
Yesterday the students' 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 had returned to India, provided they left the country voluntarily by 22 February.
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.
But Migrant Workers Association spokesperson Anu Kaloti said the students' passports would still be stamped with a deportation mark.
Ms Kaloti said the students would still suffer the implications of having been deported, which includes a five year re-entry ban.
She said the only motivation for the students to go early was to avoid being held in a detention cell.
One of the students, Sujath Ullah Baig Mirza, was put on a flight to India yesterday 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.