A man who has failed in multiple attempts to gain refugee status to remain in New Zealand is threatening to go on a hunger strike.

Turkish national Kerem Yuksel, 39, says he fears for his life after threats were made against him following anti-Islamist and anti-Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan comments he made on his blog.

Yuksel, a Christian, came to New Zealand first on a student visa in 2011. He said he had been trying unsuccessfully for two years to stay in the country as refugee.

He has had four refugee claims and three appeals declined, as well as a humanitarian appeal to the Immigration and Protection Tribunal.


Yuksel, who is in the country unlawfully, is subject to Immigration rules stating a person whose claim has been finally declined cannot apply for a further visa or make a request for the grant of visa while in New Zealand.

"I am really desperate because if I go back to Turkey, I will be subjected to unimaginable punishment and my life is in danger," he said.

"Whoever is anti-president Erdoğan, anti-Islamist or thinks differently about Kurdish and Armenian problems, if they express themselves on social media, they are going to be arrested."

The former waiter at SkyCity's Fortuna restaurant said he was running out of money because he could not work without a visa.

"I spent all my savings, now I have nothing.

"I intend to go on a hunger strike because I will never be able to leave New Zealand, and the only way New Zealand can send me away is in a coffin."

Yuksel said his situation was made worse after details of his case were made available online following the IPT decision.

"Anyone who knows about me can now find out all the details on that website."

Yuksel said he started his hunger strike last week but stopped after a day when he received an email from Immigration New Zealand saying it was looking into his case.

This followed an email he sent about his intentions to go on a hunger strike to the agency, politicians and the media.

The agency said his case was under consideration and a decision was expected within the next week to 10 days.

INZ area manager Marcelle Foley said Immigration rules do provide the Minister of Immigration, delegated to the Associate Minister of Immigration and to senior immigration officers, with the power, "in his or her absolute discretion, to grant a visa of any type to a person unlawfully in New Zealand and otherwise liable for deportation unless they are subject to a deportation order".

"Mr Yuksel's circumstances are currently being considered by a delegated officer," Foley said.

"Mr Yuksel's application for judicial review was heard on October 11 last year. The judge's decision was reserved and is still pending."