“I think the main thing is that he (Aaron) gave me the reassurance that my future in New Zealand was in safe hands.”
Navigating the complexities of immigration law becomes exponentially challenging when coupled with a minor conviction. For many who are new to New Zealand, like Gary*, the threat of deportation due to a drink driving incident can be a harrowing experience.
Gary, who moved to New Zealand from South Africa in 2019, it meant the added and unreasonable punishment of possible deportation.
Under New Zealand law, a minor conviction (those that carry a minimum sentence of up to three months in jail) committed in the first two years of residency automatically results in a liability for deportation.
Like many who leave South Africa for New Zealand, Gary describes living here as ‘like a paradise’. Gary had some life-threatening experiences in South Africa. He’d also lost friends, and had others who had lost children, to crime.
“Facing a criminal conviction and the thought of going back there was traumatic,” says Gary. “I didn’t know what to expect or what to do next.”
Fortunately, Gary had a friend who had used Aaron’s service in the past. “She was also from South Africa,” he explains. “She was going through a divorce and didn’t have a proper visa. Aaron was able to help her navigate that successfully, so she gave me his contact details.
“There’s no way I could have navigated the system myself,” he explains. “Potentially, I might have scraped through, but that risk of being deported was incredibly worrying. Not only that but without knowing the processes, there’s no doubt I would have been put back two years with my permanent residency application.”
After speaking with Aaron, Gary felt a lot calmer. “He put my mind at ease straight away and made me feel confident that he was able to take the steps needed. I was able to start sleeping at night again knowing I was in good hands.
“Aaron made it very black and white. He was able to cut through the clutter and give me a very simple and straightforward understanding of what he was going to do and what was going to happen.
“I think the main thing is that he gave me the reassurance that my future in New Zealand was in safe hands.”
With the experience now behind him, Gary has been able to continue moving in a positive direction. He enjoys contributing to New Zealand’s economy having been employed here for over six years. He’s also opened two successful businesses that employ a number of full-time New Zealand-based staff.
If you’re facing possible deportation after a minor criminal offence, time is of the essence. We strongly recommend seeking expert legal advice as soon as possible.
Contact Aaron Martin, our principal immigration lawyer, for help today.
*Name changed for anonymity