An Indian family in New Zealand has lost a last-ditch appeal against deportation, despite fears over COVID-19 and black fungus epidemic in their home country.
The family of four – father (32), mother (35) and two children aged eight and three – was issued deportation liability notices in May 2021 after the father breached his visa conditions multiple times by delivering cash in transit.
The father told the Immigration and Protection Tribunal that he performed the cash in transit task out of loyalty to his employer, and was unaware that he was in breach of the conditions of his visa. The family’s names were not made public to prevent their identification
According to the court decision, the father works in information technology, but was caught delivering cash in transit on “multiple occasions”, in breach of the terms of his visa. This led to the cancellation of their visa and the family being liable for deportation.
The family pleaded they would face “great difficulty” relocating to India as their children had spent their whole lives in New Zealand.
Further, the family said the Covid-19 pandemic had hit India hard and the vaccine roll-out had been slow and beset with issues. Besides, because of the pandemic’s effects on the economy, the father would struggle to find a job in India.
India had also been hit by a black fungus epidemic, they said.
“Previously considered very rare, cases have dramatically increased during the pandemic, usually striking patients after recovery from Covid-19.”
“More than 45,000 cases had been recorded over the last two months, of which 4200 people had died.”
The tribunal turned down their appeal, determining that the family did not have exceptional circumstances of a humanitarian nature. However, they were granted an eight-month temporary visa to get their affairs in order, and to allow the adults time to be vaccinated for Covid-19 and to arrange their travel back to India.