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Appeals: What you can do if you’re refused refugee status


How can I challenge the decision if I’m not recognised as a refugee?

Immigration Act 2009, s 194(1)(c) Legal Services Act 2011, s 7(1)

If Immigration New Zealand rejects your claim for refugee status, you can appeal to the Immigration and Protection Tribunal.

You have 10 working days to lodge your appeal after you’re told your claim has been rejected (but if you’re being held by Immigration New Zealand, which could be at the Māngere Refugee Resettlement Centre or in prison, the time limit is only five working days). However, you can ask the Immigration and Protection Tribunal to give you longer to lodge your appeal if there are special circumstances.

When you appeal, you can represent yourself or you can use a lawyer or an immigration adviser (see: “Immigration advisers: Your rights when getting advice”). If you can’t afford a lawyer, you’ll be able to get a lawyer under the Legal Aid scheme (see: “Legal Aid”).

To download the appeal forms, and for more information about filling them out, go to the Ministry of Justice website, here (or go to: www.justice.govt.nz/tribunals/immigration, then go to the Immigration and Protection Tribunal, go to “Make an appeal” and then go to “Forms & fees”).

How will the Immigration and Protection Tribunal make its decision?

Immigration Act 2009, s 198 Immigration and Protection Tribunal, Practice Note 2/2015 (Refugee and Protection)

When you appeal against your refugee claim being turned down, the Immigration and Protection Tribunal carries out a full investigation of your claim, considering it again from scratch. The Tribunal isn’t limited to considering information that you or Immigration New Zealand put before it – it can also choose to investigate on its own. It’s your responsibility to establish your case and give the Tribunal all the information you want it to look at.

Can I challenge the Immigration and Protection Tribunal’s decision if they reject my appeal?

Immigration Act 2009, ss 245, 249A Legal Services Act 2011, s 7(1)

Appeals from the Immigration and Protection Tribunal on refugee status issues are very limited. You can appeal to the High Court only on the ground that the Tribunal made a legal mistake when it decided your appeal. You can also apply to the High Court for judicial review of the Tribunal’s decision, in which case the judge will mainly be looking at whether there was something wrong with the process the Tribunal followed in making its decision.

Legal Aid is available for appeals to the High Court and for judicial review.

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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 on how legal aid works, whether you might be eligible for the service, and the next steps.

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

ChangeMakers Resettlement Forum

ChangeMakers Resettlement Forum is a grass-roots non-governmental organisation representing 18+ refugee background communities in the greater Wellington region.

Website: crf.org.nz
Email: info@crf.org.nz
Phone: 04 801 5812
Facebook: www.facebook.com/changemakersrefugeeforum

E Tū Whānau

While E Tū Whānau is proudly Māori, their violence free and whānau centred kaupapa is also helpful to former refugee and migrant communities.

Website: etuwhanau.org.nz/communities/former-refugees-and-migrants
Email: admin@etuwhanau.org.nz
Instagram: www.instagram.com/etuwhanaunz
Facebook: www.facebook.com/etuwhanau

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

Red Cross Refugee Trauma Recovery – Wellington

This Refugee Trauma Recovery service provides clinical and therapeutic support to former refugees who have experienced torture and/or trauma in the Wellington region. The service is available to children, young people and adults.

Website: www.redcross.org.nz/get-help/help-for-refugees

Complete the trauma counselling self-referral form: www.redcross.org.nz/get-help/help-for-refugees/trauma-counselling/trauma-counselling-self-referral-form

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