Migrants who break the law face deportation from New Zealand, officials warn amid rise in alcohol-related charges

  • 19/04/2024

Migrants convicted of charges as minor as alcohol-related offences in New Zealand face deportation, officials are warning amid a rise in such misdemeanours. 

"If you commit an offence, it may affect your ability to remain in the country," said Steve Watson, the general manager of immigration compliance and investigations at the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment. 

"Deportation may affect their ability to return to New Zealand and potentially their ability to visit other countries as well." 

Concerns were growing among immigration officials about the number of temporary migrants committing crimes and not being aware of how this could impact their visas, the ministry said. 

In some parts of New Zealand, "increasing numbers of migrant workers in construction, tourism and hospitality are facing alcohol-related charges and court appearances", Watson said.   

Watson appealed to migrants to be aware of the consequences of committing "what they may see as minor matters" or may face "an early plane ride home". 

"The decision to deport is made by looking at the total picture of an individual's circumstances," the ministry said in a statement.  

"This may include what the criminal offence is; how long they’ve been in New Zealand; whether they’ve got family in New Zealand; what their job is; the skill set of the individual; and whether there are any humanitarian factors present which relate to New Zealand’s international obligations. 

"We compare the risks of their offending with the value they bring to New Zealand and balance that against a careful assessment of their character," said Watson.