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Immigration & refugees

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Residence Class Visas: Living in New Zealand permanently

How Immigration NZ makes residence decisions

Immigration Act 2009, ss 27, 58, 72

If you’ve applied for a Residence Class Visa, the following rules determine how the decision is made:

  • Proper consideration – Immigration New Zealand has to properly 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”).
  • Bound by policy – Immigration NZ has to follow their published residence policy as it was on the date you applied. The Minister of Immigration can grant you residence as an exception to policy but can’t reject your application if it meets the relevant policy.
  • No more information needed – Immigration NZ can decide on the basis of the information you’ve provided, and they don’t have to seek any further information before deciding.
  • 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).
  • Reasons – If you’re refused the visa and you had applied from within New Zealand, you must be given the reasons in writing, if you ask for them.
  • Appeal – You can appeal Immigration New Zealand’s decision to the Immigration and Protection Tribunal (see below).

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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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