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Temporary Visas: Working, studying or visiting for a limited time

How Immigration NZ makes Temporary Visa decisions

The amount of freedom Immigration New Zealand has when they make immigration decisions varies a lot depending on the type of visa and the type of decision. Decisions about Temporary Visas fall in the middle ground of this range – Immigration NZ has more freedom than when they make residence decisions, but not as much as when they’re deciding to grant a visa as a special case under section 61.

In the section below we explain the rights and protections you have (like the right to respond if Immigration New Zealand has information about you that harms your application) and also important limitations on your rights (for example, there’s no independent body you can appeal to if you’re turned down).

The decision-making process: Your rights

  • Proper consideration – Immigration New Zealand has to consider your application (unless you’re not entitled to apply for a visa or are legally excluded from being granted one – see: “Accessing the immigration system: Who can apply for a visa and who can’t”).
  • Relevant factors – Immigration NZ has to consider all relevant factors, including the relevant policy published in their Operational Manual, and they can’t consider any irrelevant factors.

Immigration Act 2009, ss 45, 76 INZ Operational Manual: Temporary Entry, E7.10(b)

  • Getting a visa as an exception – If you don’t meet the policy requirements for the type of visa you want, Immigration NZ can still grant you a visa as an exception to the policy. Their Operational Manual says that Immigration Officers always have to consider whether making an exception would be justified. When they’re deciding this, they have to take into account the policy objectives stated in the Operational Manual as well as your particular situation and why you want the visa.

INZ Operational Manual: Temporary Entry, E7.15

  • Responding to negative information – You have the right to respond to any negative information that Immigration New Zealand gets (that is, information that harms your chances of getting the visa).

Immigration Act 2009, s 27 INZ Operational Manual: Temporary Entry, E7.16

  • Reasons – You must be given the reasons for the decision if you ask for them (unless you applied from overseas). If Immigration NZ had several different grounds for turning you down, they must state each of these grounds in the letter they send you telling you you’ve been turned down.
  • Court reviews – You can apply to the High Court asking it to review the process that Immigration NZ followed when they made their decision (see: “‘Judicial review’ by the courts of the decision-making process”).

The decision-making process: Limitations on your rights

Immigration Act 2009, s 58

  • No more information needed – Immigration New Zealand can make a decision on the basis of the information you’ve provided, and don’t have to seek out any further information before deciding.

Immigration Act 2009, s 45

  • Departing from policy – Although Immigration NZ has to take their applicable policy into account (for example, their published policy for Work Visas), they don’t have to follow the policy. They can refuse an application on the basis of some other factor they think is relevant, even if you meet all the stated requirements in the relevant policy.
  • Limited appeals – There’s no appeal body you can ask to review Immigration NZ’s decision. Your opportunities to challenge a Temporary Visa decision will be limited and partial.

Legal Services Act 2011, s 7(1)

  • No Legal Aid – Legal Aid isn’t available for challenging a refusal to grant you a Temporary Visa.

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Where to go for more support

Community Law

Your local Community Law Centre can provide you with free initial legal advice.

Find your local Community Law Centre online: www.communitylaw.org.nz/our-law-centres

Immigration New Zealand

Immigration New Zealand is the government organisation that deals with visa applications and other immigration issues. It’s part of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.

Website: www.immigration.govt.nz
Phone: 0508 558 855

The Operational manual contains immigration instructions that people who want to come to New Zealand must follow. While it is not a step-by-step guide, it will help you follow Immigration New Zealand’s processes. Access it here: www.immigration.govt.nz/opsmanual

See also Immigration’s policies and processes: www.immigration.govt.nz/about-us/policy-and-law/how-the-immigration-system-operates

Immigration and Protection Tribunal

The Immigration and Protection Tribunal determines appeals on Immigration New Zealand’s decisions about refugee and protection matters.

Website: www.justice.govt.nz/Tribunals/immigration/immigration-and-protection

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