An Indian man's deportation was reversed after the Immigration and Protection tribunal stepped in, ruling it was inhumane to send the man back to Punjab due to Covid-19's presence in the country.
Former immigration minister Tuariki Delamere says the failed deportation will have Immigration New Zealand "freaking out".
Delamere told Heather du Plessis-Allan they are doing "very few" deportations, and the tribunal's decision will effectively prevent any deportations to any country struggling amid the pandemic.
"You've now got a precedent that the tribunal has said that Covid-19 in India... it is an exceptional humanitarian circumstance, and you can't be deporting anyone there. That goes for Brazil, that goes for a lot of countries in Asia and probably all of Africa."
Delamere adds presently, most people deported from New Zealand go to the Pacific Islands and India.
"We tend not to deport too many back to Europe... I've got clients who have claimed refugee status who got Covid. A person the other day said that might well happen because I don't think the tribunal will deport anybody including people who have claimed refugee status."