9 August 2022

Indian couple given 5 months to leave NZ for breaching Covid-19 rules

A couple have been ordered to be deported to their home country, India after the women illegally crossed Auckland boundary, violating Covid-19’s alert level 4 restrictions prevailing at that time.

The deportation order comes after the couple, Simranpreet​ Singh and Amanpreet Kaur’s appeal against their deportation notice with the Immigration and Protection Tribunal, was rejected.

Both have been in New Zealand for nearly 12 years, having moved here from India in 2010. They were reportedly married in April last year.

In September 2021, Amanpreet Kaur​ was ‘stranded’ in Auckland in a boarding house where she lived, while her husband Simranpreet​ Singh was in Rotorua, where he worked as a baker in a supermarket .

As per records, on September 15, 2021, Kaur breached the Covid-19 restrictions to join her husband in Rotorua out of “emotional and financial desperation”.

She successfully escaped from the city after hiding in the back of a truck, driven by a known essential worker who had permission to cross Auckland boundary. She got dropped off in Tauranga, from where her husband picked her up and took her to Rotorua.

Kaur’s escape was exposed in late September while searching for a job in Rotorua.

This led to a police search of their home and were charged. Subsequently, Immigration New Zealand issued the couple a deportation liability notices due to their offending, on the grounds they were not of “good character”.

The couple pleaded guilty to a charge of breaching the Covid-19 Public Health Response Act in the Tauranga District Court, but were discharged without a conviction realising the ‘significant hardship’ she had suffered separated from her husband.

The couple appealed the deportation notice with the Immigration and Protection Tribunal on humanitarian grounds, which has now been dismissed.

“The tribunal acknowledges that the circumstances of the appellants’ offending, and their resultant sentences, indicate that their offending was at a low level.”

However, the tribunal noted that threshold for a humanitarian appeal was “exceptional” and the facts of the case didn’t reach the required bar.

The feel of “shame and distress among their community if deported” were not exceptional, the tribunal ruled while upholding their deportation notice.

The tribunal has granted a discretionary five-month work visa, to return to India, but must leave the country by August.

The only recourse left for the couple now is to appeal to the Immigration Minister for cancellation of their deportation.

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