A 26-year-old Indian man Pardeep Sharma, who was waiting for the outcome of his pending Section 61 partnership visa application has been asked to leave the country by Immigration NZ during Alert level 3 on May 27 and given a month's time to leave the country before June 27, to avoid facing deportation orders. 

Immigration New Zealand has begun deportation process on a man during alert level 3 asking him to leave the country by June 27, in order to avoid a deportation-order, completely oblivious to the current levels of severely restricted or limited commercial international-travel opportunities. 

Arriving six years ago on a student visa, Pardeep’s story is a classic case of how immigration-dream of progressing on different work visas for years can go kaput, leading temporary migrants to lose tens of thousands of dollars, before finally even risking permanent damage on their immigration records. 

Pardeep Sharma had first arrived in the country six years ago on a student visa and since then been living and working on different work-visas - including overstaying as well on occasion - due to alleged botched-up timely actions of others, and was waiting for the outcome of his latest partnership visa application when he was asked by INZ to leave the country, in the least expected time - just a month after coming out of Alert level 4 lockdown. 

However, coming out of lockdown, this was the last thing that Pardeep wanted to experience in his already precious visa-situation, which has gone kaput after one of his earlier visa applications was botched up by an immigration lawyer working for a reputed immigration firm. 

Pardeep had first arrived in the country on July 27, 2014, to study Diploma in Business Studies and after successfully completing his course, got a one-year Post-study open job search visa on November 6, 2015, that was valid till November 6, 2016. 

Apparently, he filed his next work visa application on his own submitting the paper application on Friday, November 4, 2016, which was received by an immigration officer on Monday, November 7, 2016, thereby making him an overstayer for one day. 

Acknowledging his lack of preparedness in advance, he had then apologised to the immigration officer and subsequently succeeded in being granted another Post Study work visa valid till November 21, 2018. 

The life for Pardeep within those two years was like any normal life - full of its share of successes, failures, happiness, and mistakes. 

One of the mistakes that Pardeep committed during that two year period was drink-driving and crashing into a pole, although miraculously avoiding any injury to self or anyone else. 

“I regret to say in March 2017, I had a drink and drive conviction. The court sentenced me for 60 hours community service, which I completed at Salvation Army Glen Innes. I was also disqualified from driving for 6 months. I apologized for my mistake and realized that it could have been worse. I thank God every day that nobody was hurt due to my mistake otherwise I would have never forgiven myself,” Pardeep said. 

“Court was satisfied that it was a mistake and I didn’t do it intentionally or do it often,” Pardeep said. 

Pardeep further told the Indian Weekender that he was assured by the officials in the court that the incidence and the community service conviction will not in any manner adversely impact his future visa situation. 

Anyway, Pardeep went on to file for his next employer-assisted work visa application - again by himself, and without paying the much required due respect to the immigration-process - submitting his visa application only five days before the expiry date of his current visa (November 21, 2018). 

It was probably beginning from there that his smooth sailing with Immigration NZ till started getting into trouble putting him in a precarious visa-situation eventually. 

His work visa application was not carrying an updated Police Clearance Certificate - a necessary documentation required for all temporary visa holders in the country. 

However, apparently, as Pardeep told the Indian Weekender that INZ had chosen to not accept the visa application and return it back to him by post on November 20, 2016, and asking to resubmit the file with all updated documentation. 

“That gesture would have at least allowed me to remain legitimately in the system, while the Immigration NZ processed through my next work visa application,” Pardeep said exasperatingly. 

So technically, with only one day in hand (before his existing visa was due to expire on November 21, 2018) Pardeep’s new visa application was returned back, and failing to apply on time would make him unlawful under Section 61 of Immigration Act - a precarious visa position where immigration officers get to assess application without the requirement of any accountability. 

A situation from where not many visa-hopefuls succeed in getting back easily into the immigration system.  

Although, Pardeep managed to get a new Police Clearance Certificate from the Indian High Commission within a matter of days and re-submitted a new visa application by November 28, 2018, but his visa was subsequently rejected in January 2019. 

Since then Pardeep has been struggling to negotiate with the immigration system hopping from one immigration lawyer to another, and from trying different options of remaining legitimately in the country such as applying under Section 61 to applying for Ministerial intervention on compassionate grounds, all just to try to salvage his dream of Kiwi life. 

The supposedly last recourse for him to remain legitimately in the country was to file for a visa based on his New Zealand based partner, which he applied on May 27 2020, with assistance from another reputed immigration law firm. 

Sadly for him, the same day an Immigration Compliance officer had chosen to serve him with a deportation notice with only a month's time given to leave the country. 

Pardeep also said that Immigration NZ had an expectation from him to get-boarded on the Air India’s evacuation flights scheduled to come to New Zealand to take stranded Indian citizens back home - a fact yet not independently verified by the Indian Weekender.

An enquiry has been sent to Immigration NZ at the time of publication of this story requesting for accurate numbers of deportation orders served during Alert Level 3 or where deportation process has been started under Alert level 3, with an expectation to leave the country when commercial international travel is severely restricted.