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Page URL: https://practice.orangatamariki.govt.nz/our-work/assessment-and-planning/assessments/conducting-an-assessment/immigration-status-of-tamariki/
Printed: 16/04/2021
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Last updated: 08/03/2021

Immigration status of tamariki

Some tamariki we work with are foreign citizens with a temporary immigration status, dual citizenship or an unlawful immigration status due to their visa expiring. If we’re not sure of their citizenship and immigration status, we need to confirm it.

We need to confirm their immigration status

We need to confirm the status of te tamaiti or rangatahi and significant family/whānau members for a number of reasons, including to determine:

  • if te tamaiti or rangatahi holds the appropriate immigration status
  • if their current status gives them the right to access basic services, such as health, education and financial support from the Government
  • the appropriate plans that can secure the safety of te tamaiti or rangatahi if there are concerns or threats by relatives to return them to their country of origin
  • if we need to advise the embassy or high commission of their country of origin of our involvement
  • if we need to seek information and work collaboratively with their country of origin for permanent care arrangements for te tamaiti or rangatahi
  • considerations for any permanent care planning for te tamaiti or rangatahi, ensuring this considers an immigration status that may have conditions that could impact on care stability.

How we confirm their status

1 Sight their passport or travel documents

We ask the parent or caregiver if we can see the passport or travel documents of te tamaiti or rangatahi. This will help us determine their citizenship and what visa they entered New Zealand on. Note that some visa categories (like a residence visa) have conditions attached that might create some vulnerability around the immigration status of te tamaiti or rangatahi, despite the visa being valid.

Remember that this may be the parent or caregiver's first contact with Oranga Tamariki and they may need help to understand why we're asking for this information.

Also consider if they need:

  • cultural support
  • translation services.

2 Consult the International Child Protection Unit

We should consult with the International Child Protection Unit if:

  • te tamaiti or rangatahi is a foreign citizen on a temporary immigration status in New Zealand
  • te tamaiti or rangatahi is a foreign citizen and has been taken into the custody or guardianship of the Oranga Tamariki chief executive or has been made a ward of the court – we have obligations under international conventions to advise the Embassy or High Commission of the origin country of te tamaiti or rangatahi
  • there is any media risk – the International Child Protection Unit will need to manage the diplomatic elements
  • the parent or caregiver is unable or unwilling to provide information that verifies the immigration status of te tamaiti or rangatahi
  • te tamaiti or rangatahi does not hold a lawful immigration status – for example:
    • they might have been born in New Zealand but their parents are not a New Zealand citizen or resident, or 
    • their immigration status has expired, or 
    • they appear to be on an incorrect immigration status
  • Oranga Tamariki is involved with a case where te tamaiti was gifted at birth by a mother who was an overstayer at the time of the birth – this may mean that te tamaiti or rangatahi has no lawful immigration status in New Zealand.

The International Child Protection Unit will help us:

  • determine the immigration status of te tamaiti or rangatahi and advise what impact this may have on accessing services, permanent care planning, etc
  • liaise with authorities and agencies in the country of origin of te tamaiti or rangatahi if required and if possible seek information and collaborate as required.

Email: ICPU@ot.govt.nz