The New Immigration Bill (Your Complete Guide to Getting Deported) – Pt 3: Welcome to Aotearoa

So you get a little carried away one night at some big party, and in a rash and possibly vodka/sangria/tequila/all of the above induced moment, you decided to call the ever so slightly sensitive leader of your country (who happens to have an amazing ability for magic, especially disappearing tricks) a “fucking retard who thought that the fall of the Communism was an accident that happened in Ikea”. Unfortunately for you the the leader of your country is right behind you (with favourite Ikea glass in hand and burly guards with clumsy fists on either side of her) and has taken exception to what you said about her mother. But you didn’t say anything about her mother. No, she replies, but you were about to. She smiles at you and walks away.

You think about that annual leave you’ve been meaning to take … and then think, fuck it, I’m just going to go straight to the airport right now and take the first plane out of here because I’m that kind of rebel and I don’t actually fancy my chances of surviving until the morning … Passport? Those pesky daily checks by the local police authorities mean you always three different ones on you at all times depending on who you meet (you know a fella who knows a fella who knows a kid whose teacher from three years back knows a fella whom, after you meet him, turns out to be your sister in law’s cousin AND the old flatmate of your older brother – small world).

You pawn your remaining worldly goods away and pay for a ticket onto the next flight out of here … it’s heading for New Zealand (yeah, I know, the whole thing worked until I said that … oh well, it’s not like I can cut that part of the narrative, we’ll just live with it).

Ah, New Zealand, home of the free. What do you know about it? It’s also called Aotearoa. Good start. What else? Well … er … something about sheep … er … who live in peace and harmony with hobbits and … er … folk parody bands … oh no matter, any where is better than here and who cares that it’s … completely and utterly isolated … no it’s not a bother after all they’re a modern, English speaking country, they’ll have affordable, high speed internet with no data caps … is it too late to change flights? … and we can’t do that in mid air? … ok then … New Zealand it is … I’m sure it will be fine …

You arrive after a long flight in cattle class (and they ran out of the noodles so you tried to pick your way around something that once resembled a … well the jury is still out on just exactly what species they put down in front of you), to the bright New Zealand light and walk through the halls of Auckland international airport, towards immigration. You are quick of mind to purchase a little last minute duty free so that it looks like you’re a regular passenger. You take your place in the long winding queue … glancing jealously ever now and then at the queue of NZ and Australian passport holders, quickly nipping through. You finally reach the immigration officer and smile your most winning of smiles (you’re going to need it because they’ll take your photo, iris scan and fingerprints … oh wait, you probably won’t be able to smile as they don’t seem to let you do that these days, so you already have a head start looking like a criminal on the government/police/whoever-the-hell-is-able-to-access-this-information files).

Here one of two things may happen:

1. As your escape was immediately after your party faux pas, you are still handily dress in your tux or gown, jewels and all (because they are not worldly – they’re out of this worldy) … slightly shabby but still relatively chique, the immigration officer takes you to be a high flying business entreprenuer, with loads of money to spend in glorious Aotearoa … you breeze through … phew! We’ll deal with you another time, enjoy your stay, try the lamb.

or

2. You’ve tried your best smile, you’ve run out of erudite witticisms, you flirted until you have no flirt left in you. The immigration officer is giving you a withering look that would make Helen Clark’s whimper. It’s not looking good and you are asked to sit in a special section while the officer informs her superior (in the meantime, a producer attached with a roaming camera crew try to get you to fill in consent/release forms so they can film you as the next episode of their reality t.v. show) …

You meet the supervisor, an annoyingly cheerful and friendly woman who, under the new immigration Bill, now has the power to make decisions in relation to your refugee status and protection under other international conventions. The gown may work against you if you’re claiming to be a general refugee (unless you have a letter from Aunty Helen saying so) so you’ll have to convince her you would be subject to torture when you get deported or come under cruel treatment as defined by the Covenant of Civil and Political rights (possibly being forced to listen to your Glorious Leader trying to win SingStar may not count – lordy people, please go and Google that one, I have enough on my plate as it is). Refugee status allows you to flex your creative writing muscle as you will have to put your claim forward in writing … perhaps prepare a sonnet or even a short performance piece on the long flight over. Do a dress rehearsal with the cabin crew, it will make the hours fly by.

Your best impersonation of Laurence Olivier as Othello may not have convinced them, so while they investigate further you may be detained for 4 hours (this is another good reason for stopping off at duty free before you hit the immigration desk – feijoa vodka may make the time passes more interestingly). After these 4 hours elapse, you can then be detained for a further 92 hours without a warrant for commitment … maybe buy some chocolate while at duty free too … After 96 hours in total and with no decision in site you may be asked to “reside in a specific place” (at the absolute discretion of the immigration officer), report in as required, have a guarantor to look over you (ah, yup, yup, nah, they’ve been fine), attend interviews (where do you see yourself in five years time (alive), what’s one of your worst qualities (er … I’m a perfectionist?)) and be generally helpful to allow them to deport you (I’m paraphrasing yes, but the aim is “deportation or departure”).

The decision comes through and you’re out … back to the Glorious Leader with a killing-people-for-no-reason-other-than-they-can problem. Hopefully it’s not the school holidays, there isn’t a heavy workload and your case is at the top of the pile because you will need to know within 42 days of being in the country. Why? Any appeal you may wish to lodge has to be within those 42 days. If the decision is posted (because you receive it by registered mail) on say the Thursday before Good Friday and that happens to be day 39, you’ll be on the next flight out with no chance to appeal (posties don’t deliver on Easter Saturday and as there is nothing in the Bill to say otherwise, then weekends and public holidays count as part of the 42 day tally). But you will have 14 days further to give a really, really good reason why (the woman has no taste, honestly!), no, there isn’t a definition of what exactly that good reason is.

Of course, you could be deemed a security risk, and then the Bill really gets fun … no I mean it this time … or rather, next time, duh, duh daaaaaahhh!

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