Immigration and refugees: overview

In this chapter, we explain how New Zealand’s immigration and refugee systems work, including:

Note: Many of the immigration rules explained in this chapter are contained in policies issued by the government, rather than by laws passed by Parliament. Because of this, immigration rules can be changed more easily and more often than, for example, rules around tenancy agreements. Please check for any changes since we published this edition of the Community Law Manual.

You can find all the current immigration rules (including both policies and laws) in Immigration New Zealand’s “Operational Manual”, available online at: www.immigration.govt.nz/opsmanual. If a particular immigration rule we cover in this chapter is from government policy rather than law, we include a reference so you can find it in the Operational Manual – for example, “INZ Operational Manual: Temporary Entry, W2.15” for rules about funds requirements for Work Visas.

For this chapter, we have relied on the version of the Operational Manual that’s dated 8 May 2017. You can check if a particular policy has been changed since we published this chapter by looking at the date note in red at the end of each section of the Operational Manual – for example, the section W2.15 currently has the note “Effective 29/11/2010” at the end, which lets you know that the rules in that section of the Manual haven’t been changed since 29 November 2010.

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