Duped Indian students consider hiding to avoid deportation

Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse is refusing to step in and stop the deportation of a group of students that have been duped by education agents in India.

The students have not given up hope - they are considering taking refuge at a local church as a last stand to avoid being kicked out.

They say the Minister's decision will ruin any future career prospects - and in at least one case, it could split up a young family.

Two-year-old Khwahish is oblivious to her parents' plight. Agents in India falsified information on her mother's visa.

Now the family is paying the price.

"We are not criminals, so please help us," mother Asha Rani says.

The family forked out thousands of dollars to be here - as did their families back home.

Ms Rani's partner Vikram Salaria estimates they paid between $30,000 and $35,000 for tuition, education agents and immigrations fees.

"We don't have any future now if we go back [to India]," he says.

In May last year, Newshub revealed Immigration New Zealand's office in Mumbai was swamped with hundreds of cases of fraud. It prompted a crackdown by the Government.

But the agents have cashed in without facing any penalty.

Mr Woodhouse says he has sympathy for the students' situation, but won't help.

"Effectively those decisions have already been made. [The students] have sought ministerial intervention; that has been declined. They're unlawful and they need to leave New Zealand."

Human rights lawyer Golriz Ghahraman says the students weren't aware they were breaking the law.

"In fact, someone else took advantage of them ... To me it looks like we're a bit erratic with the way that we treat people. We're kind of taking a very hardline approach here."

The students say all they want is the chance to complete their studies and apply for a one-year work visa.

But with the deportation notices issued, their position in New Zealand is precarious, and they could face being arrested or even imprisoned.