Laurent Lore
March 2023
We are pleased to see that Laurent Law features among the Top 5 law bloggers in New Zealand, according to Feedspot. You can see and subscribe to our regular articles here.

We aim to supply content that is useful to people trying to navigate the immigration system. These are not a substitute for getting advice and recommendations about how to deal with your own particular situation. However, they may explain matters so that you have some idea of what you can do next.

We continue to answer the difficult questions people bring to us. The best way to arrange a meeting is to use our website's online booking system for a video call or a face-to-face meeting.

Simon Laurent
The Tail of 2021 Resident Visas
Since the Government opened the one-off 2021 Resident Visa ("2021 RV") in December 2021, it has received 170,000 or so applications. About 35,000 of these still remain to be decided.

While it does seem that Immigration New Zealand has worked through this large cohort of applications fairly well, the time taken to make a decision can create pressures both for visa applicants and for employers. For example, someone on a previous Work Visa has been in the job for a couple of years and is now on a 2021 RV Interim Visa which will expire shortly. The only way they can continue to work for the company is for the employer to obtain Accreditation, which is a costly exercise they do not want to go through just for one staff member.

It is possible to ask for the 2021 RV application to be prioritised. Another situation in which this can be considered is for a 2021 RV applicant whose partner and children are included in the application, but who are still waiting overseas.

One of the criteria for getting INZ to do this is to be clear about the reason why your case should be pushed up the queue ahead of others. We may be able to help with this, because although the reason may seem clear to you, it can sometimes be difficult to explain it persuasively, and know what supporting evidence to provide.
Parent Residence
Last year, one of the visa policies which was reactivated was the Parent Residence scheme. This pathway had a start-stop history back in 2020 when COVID-19 shut the borders.

See Sahar Shamia's blog post about how to qualify. Families first submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) and then wait to receive an Invitation to Apply (ITA) which only then allows them to file the Residence application. As at November 2022 there were nearly 6500 EOIs in the Pool from which cases are selected to issue ITAs. Considering that there is an annual cap of 2500 applications that can be accepted every year, anyone who puts in an EOI will need to settle in to wait for some time before they might get an ITA.

The policy mainly turns on the level of income earned by New Zealand sponsors. We have sighted industry feedback that a majority of those not invited to apply involved a declaration of sponsor income lower than the current requirement. This is particularly problematic for sponsors whose income is close to the acceptable threshold. That figure is tied to the national median wage, which keeps creeping upward at the start of each year.

Furthermore, the sponsor must earn this level of income for 2 out of the last 3 years. For self-employed people this can be a real challenge because their income is likely to fluctuate - especially in this uncertain economic climate. It may be worth contacting us to go through the exercise of calculating eligibility, and risks of not being eligible, before submitting an EOI.

Those who are keen to bring their parents over for good, where the parents have some assets which could be cashed up and invested in New Zealand, should instead consider whether they can apply under the Parent Retirement Residence category.
SUCCESS STORY - Flawed Character Waiver in Residence Appeal
We were called in to help a couple whose Partner Residence application was in trouble. The applicant had, several years earlier, applied for a Work Visa supported by his previous NZ partner, but failed to declare that he had actually entered the new relationship with his present wife before that application was decided. This became a character concern, which led to Residence being declined because he was not granted a Character Waiver (see our vlog about this process).

On appeal, the Immigration & Protection Tribunal agreed with our argument that the Character Waiver assessment was not done properly. The couple had been living in India since 2019 because the applicant had become an overstayer and had to leave. There was cogent evidence before INZ that the NZ partner was suffering from long-term mental illness. Her ability to cope with living in India was impaired as a result, and would also be impacted by the need to return to New Zealand without him.

In the IPT's opinion, INZ "either failed to consider the evidence of her mental health problems or unfairly minimised them". It also did not factor in the applicant's ability to contribute to his wife's welfare by living with her.

The case was referred back to Immigration for reassessment, along with directions from the IPT as to the manner in which the case is to be reconsidered. We have been instructed to continue to assist.