Deportation looming for unemployed Tuvalu man

  • 24/02/2016
Passport and US visa background with  immigration application form.

A Tuvalu man seeking refugee status in New Zealand because he would struggle to get a job in the island nation has been refused the right to appeal his pending deportation.

The Tuvalu native arrived in New Zealand in 2003 and lodged a claim to be recognised as a refugee in December 2014, but it was rejected, as was an appeal to the Immigration Protection Tribunal.

He said he is concerned about the living situation he would return to and would be entirely dependent on the kindness of others since he was ineligible for employment in the public sector.

The man is subject to a two-year ban on government jobs as he was recently convicted and sentenced to one year in jail for indecently assaulting a woman.

Unemployment in the tiny island nation is, by some estimates, as high as 40 percent.

But Justice Simon France agreed with the Tribunal's findings and rejected the man's application for an appeal, saying he did not have a well-founded fear of persecution.

"The public service was the major but not only employer in Tuvalu," he said in his notes.

"The temporary public service restriction on people who have served a term of imprisonment was not a disproportionate limit on [the man's] right to work, and [the man's] likely unemployment situation did not amount of persecution."

During the Tribunal proceedings it was also found that climate change was not a factor.