Deportation of New Zealanders from Australia

The issue

New Zealanders are now the biggest group being held in Immigration detention centres. They are often held in detention for many months awaiting processing of their deportation or appeal. Detainees have reported acts of violence, abuse by security guards, and a lack of medical treatment. They are also isolated from their families and legal support.

Why is this happening?

The Australian Government amended the Migration Act in December 2014, lowering the threshold for the character test. Any non-citizen who has been sentenced to 12 months or more in prison, or who is a known associate of a criminal organisation, will fail the ‘character test’. Their visa is automatically cancelled and they will be placed in an Immigration detention centre to await deportation. The legislation is retrospective, and cumulative sentencing totalling 12 months or more will see someone fail the character test.

Oz Kiwi does not condone criminal activity, but people who have served their sentence should not be punished again by being deported from the country they call home. The 150 New Zealanders being held in Immigration detention are a very small proportion of the approximately 300,000 non-protected Special Category Visa-holders living in Australia.

How you can help

Contact the Australian Minister for Home Affairs and Minister for Immigration. You can also email the New Zealand Minister of Justice.

Ask what their position is on the number of New Zealanders being deported, the conditions they are being held in, and the time taken to process their deportation. For example:

  • What is the New Zealand government doing to ensure the rights of the detainee are being protected?
  • Why are New Zealanders being held in Immigration detention for many months while their deportation order is being processed?
  • Why can’t people with no history of offending, or only non-violent offences, be allowed to remain in the community while their deportation or appeal is processed?
  • What support are deportees offered when they return to New Zealand?

You can:


Download our Deportation of New Zealanders letter template

follow up letter template if you get no reply or no clear answer your questions.


Find more about New Zealanders being deported.

Information for people arrested or detained in Australia


Oz Kiwi is run by volunteers and entirely funded by public donations. Please consider donating to help Oz Kiwi advocate on behalf of New Zealanders living in Australia.

Thank you for your support.

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