Not all deportees are criminals - Immigrant advocate

By Regan Paranihi

Vicky Rose has been a champion for many New Zealanders who face deportation in Australia.

With the change in the Australian Immigration Law, it is those with New Zealand passports filling up the detention centres and it's an area Māori are once again overrepresented in.

This is a national issue that is affecting many kiwi families across Australia.

Vicky Rose, (Ngai Tahu) Nerang Neighbourhood Centre Coordinator says, "I think the biggest contributing factor to our deportation numbers is the fact that we didn't have to do visa applications and character test."

Rose says she gets at least one client every week who is facing deportation.

"Anybody here on a New Zealand passport they are subject to this."

She also adds, "We get about 25 inquiries a day across our programs and about 50% of them are from Kiwi's."

411 New Zealanders were deported last year compared to 93 English immigrants, and since 2014 there have been one thousand Kiwi's deported from Australia.

"The stigma around Māori and deportation, the stigma around you are all criminals in deportation. It’s not the case, that's really not the case. It’s a nationality issue anyone on a New Zealand passport and you don't even have to have a criminal conviction just because you might be deemed a threat to Australian society."

Thus is a problem she says Kiwi's know very little about.

"Many people don't know that that little green card that we fill out on the plane is our visa application."

She has advice for whānau living abroad on how they can insure this doesn't happen to them.

"If you're planning on living in Australia permanently then you need to investigate your options for getting permanent residency."

She also adds, "Get ahead of the game and don't think you are safe just because you don't have a criminal record."

Rose will begin her own workshops across the Gold Coast to raise awareness around this topic.