September 2019
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In This Issue
More on Parent Visas - Not!
The Fast Track and the Slow Track
Introduction to Sahar Shamia
The Trouble with Partnership Visas
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I made a right decision choosing your firm "I appreciate your clarity you give to your clients through your emails. From my bottom of my heart I wish you a good and prosperous future. I confirm I made a right decision choosing your firm and lucky having you as our representative."  


Laurent Law Barristers & Solicitors
408 Mt Eden Rd, Mt Eden, Auckland, 1024, New Zealand
Ph.  +64-9-630-0411;  Fax  +64-9-630-0412

In the first half of 2019, the immigration industry has grappled with appalling delays and declining standards of service from immigration New Zealand.  That situation is not getting any better.  I wrote about this not too long ago, and explained that it came from increased demand for visas along with major structural changes pushed by the Government.
While INZ expected only 3.4% growth in demand for various types of visas in the 4 years from 2017, they have now actually seen a sustained increase in volumes of 8% or more from year to year.  Growth in demand for Work and Student Visas has been even higher.
We have had to ask clients to be patient with delays which we cannot control.
The line-up of faces at Laurent Law has changed, too.  We were sad to lose Dew James and Jacqui Lee earlier this year, who have gone to pursue other career interests.  In return, Sahar Shamia started with us in June as a new Staff Solicitor, and has already delivered real value for our clients.
We continue to highlight current issues in our  law firm blog.  Subscribe to the blog in order to see up-to-date commentary on trends in the immigration field.

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Yours sincerely
Simon Laurent
LaurentLaw Barristers & Solicitors
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Your comments would be appreciated - including questions which you would like answered directly or in a future instalment.
The Minister of Immigration has been asked on multiple occasions over the last year - When is the Parent Resident category reopening?  He has promised that it is being looked at, but each statement pushes the timeframe for a decision back further.

Not long ago, I raised a concern about how ethical it was for INZ to let people pay to put in the Parent Expression of Interest, without apparently having any intention to invite those families to apply for Residence.
Some news has trickled out that Immigration is thinking about closing off the Tier 2 Parent category altogether and paying refunds.  The Tier 1 category could be reopened with a new set of criteria - those who have a Tier 1 EOI in already, but who don't meet the new rules, will be refunded as well.  This rumour still keeps circulating, but we are unable to call it more than that at the moment.

There has been a lot in the news lately about delays in processing of visas.  A look on the INZ website shows estimated processing times of several months for many types of visas.
This, however, is not the whole story.  in the last year Immigration has rolled out a system for dividing applications into 2 streams:
  • "Low Touch" - these are cases which can be turned around quickly and with minimal effort at their end, so they are prioritised;
  • "High Touch" - which have characteristics that indicate that they are more difficult.  This could include the nationality of the applicant, the standard of their evidence, or problems with health or character.

A key feature of Low Touch applications is that they are "decision ready".  That is, all the information which INZ needs in order to approve them is right there in front of them.


Obviously, you want to be in that faster queue.  This is where we come in.  Our experience in the last few months is that we are getting standard cases decided in weeks - even days - rather than months.  We have a pretty good idea what a visa officer wants to see, and we make our clients give it to us.  This is where we can add real value.


If you know of someone who needs help finding their way through the visa process, get them to talk to us.

Introduction to Sahar Shamia

Sahar joined Laurent Law on 17 June 2019.  We looked far and wide to find someone with her skills and abilities. We are thrilled to have her on board.

Sahar is an enrolled Barrister and Solicitor of the High Court and she graduated with Law and History degrees from the University of Auckland.

Sahar was born in Kuwait and she migrated to New Zealand with her family in 1996.  We think it is no coincidence that this was the year that Laurent Law was established. She is passionate about the field of immigration because of the contribution that it makes to New Zealand society as a whole.  She manages all temporary entry and residence applications, residence appeals, character waivers, section 61 requests, ministerial interventions and a whole lot more.

Sahar has a passion for travel and speaks fluent English and Arabic. She loves to spend time with friends and loved ones. She enjoys a game of tennis and you will often find her on the courts when she is not working.

Sahar is a valued member of our immigration team and we look forward to a long and prosperous working relationship with her. We are confident that our clients will enjoy her approach to life and work and that they will depend on her for valued advice and guidance.

Make an appointment to meet Sahar and entrust your immigration related matters to her.
The Trouble with Partnership Visas
Over the last couple of years, more and more Partnership applications have been declined.  Some of these stories have made it to the media, and in increasing numbers.

So what is going on?  In some quarters there are allegations of racial bias.  But there may be a more general problem - that the policy settings which Immigration is required to apply are out of step with the way that couples get together and develop genuine relationships.

Read Sahar Shamia's blog which talks about this in more detail.

The essential rules for assessing partnerships have not changed for nearly 20 years.  Some Immigration managers have expressed their frustration with the existing criteria.  Perhaps we will soon see a shake-up in this system, but will it be for better or for worse?
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