Since amendments were made to Section 501 of the Migration Act – visa cancellation and refusal on character grounds – in December 2014, New Zealanders are the largest nationality group of persons who have their visa cancelled under s501, which then renders them unlawful non-citizens. As a result, they are the largest nationality group in Australia’s immigration detention network and the largest nationality group to be deported from Australia under s501. A number of these are permanent and long term residents who had lived in Australia since childhood or a period of 10 years or more. This research seeks to present an understanding of the Australian deportation experience for those convicted New Zealanders who have their visa cancelled under s501.

Very little is known about visa cancellation and deportation policy and practice against convicted New Zealanders from Australia and the human impact this experience has on deportees and their families. While this aspect is at the heart of this research, administrative decision making surrounding visa cancellation and deportation against convicted non-citizens will be explored within a crimmigration, risk society and executive decision-making framework. In s501 decision making, convicted non-citizens are often constructed as a risk to the Australian community as a means to justify visa cancellation and removal decisions which then has an impact on the human rights of New Zealander long term residents of Australia.

This research project builds upon the Border Crossing Observatory's Australian Deportation Project that examines contemporary deportations from Australia. The overarching objective of this research is to examine the rise in crimmigration responses towards convicted non-citizens in the evolution of visa cancellation and deportation policy and practice, and the intersection of risk and human rights with regards to the visa cancellation process, its application and impact on the group most affected by this policy and practice: New Zealand citizens.