A Pakistani man involved in a people-smuggling operation in America, who gained residence in New Zealand, is the subject of a fraud investigation and is going to be deported.
But he has been told he can make a fresh application for residence.
In 2005, the stepfather-of-two was caught by a United States border patrol crossing from Canada, driving a van carrying eight Indian nationals, none with visas.
He changed his name and arrived in 2013 to enter into an arranged marriage.
When he applied for residence, the 39-year-old failed to disclose he had been convicted, deported and had used another name.
He had also previously unsuccessfully claimed refugee status in Canada.
When his visa deception was revealed, the former immigration minister, Michael Woodhouse decided he should be deported.
He appealed to the immigration and protection tribunal, which heard about his part in the people-smuggling.
He met an “agent” who offered to get him a legitimate visa for the United States for $US5000 ($NZ7479) and offered to reduce the cost if he agreed to drive a vehicle to the border for him, he told the tribunal.
He was arrested and jailed, meeting his New Zealand resident-wife online once he had been deported back to Pakistan.
His lawyer said he would face severe risks to his safety if he was again deported there, because he is a Shia Muslim.
He suffered threats to his life on his last visit there, she said, and deportation would result in the permanent separation from his family to whom he was a “pillar of support”.
The tribunal heard he was the subject of an open fraud investigation by the police in relation to his directorship of a car company. The sum under investigation is said to be substantial.
It ruled he did have exceptional humanitarian circumstances because of his wife and stepson’s health issues but it would not be unduly harsh to deport him.
“[His] concealment of his deportation from the United States (bolstered by his concealment of ever having lived there, or in Canada) went to the heart of his residence application,” it said, in its written decision.
“The concealment undermined the integrity of New Zealand’s immigration system in a serious way.
“He was not the architect of the scheme but more of a ‘mule’. It does not, however, alter the fact that he sustained a conviction for a serious, immigration-related offence.”
But it lifted a ban on him re-applying for visas.
“While deportation is not unjust or unduly harsh in all the circumstances, the tribunal considers that any adverse effect on [her and her children] ought to be mitigated as far as is possible, given the genuineness of the marriage and the fact that she and her children are innocent parties.”