Do you have a complaint against Immigration New Zealand?
A simple checklist to consider
- How has Immigration New Zealand acted unreasonably in terms of its own instructions or rules? Just being a Good Person Wanting a Better Life is no ground for a visa. The Client Complaint Resolutions Process and Ombudsman processes are not the appropriate avenue.
- Is your complaint about a purely discretionary decision such as an Expression of Interest, exception to instructions or section 61 requests? Section 61 may be available for people without current visas. If refused under section 61, Immigration New Zealand’s view is that its complaints process is not available.
- Is the complaint about unfairness in the process or being unhappy with the actual outcome? Immigration New Zealand will only investigate process complaints.
- Did Immigration New Zealand advise you that you had a review or appeal available? Immigration New Zealand and the Ombudsman expect this to be used before complaining.
We should respond to the case officer dealing with the file at first instance.
- We need to get the file: Assumptions are not good enough. Pacific Legal will urgently request a copy of your file and will carefully check this. In some cases, we can get basic electronic information in less than 5 working days.
- Are there compelling humanitarian circumstances? (perhaps backed up by medical or psychological evidence) you could put these to Immigration New Zealand under section 61 and when refused then take up the invitation of a direct complaint to the Office of the Ombudsman.
- Are you within 42-days of the last visa and have strong evidence of humanitarian circumstances? We should consider an appeal to the Immigration and Protection Tribunal. About 20% or so of appeals reach the “exceptional” standard under section 207. Very strong evidence is needed. To have reasonable prospects of success, it is important to have an experienced representative. Pacific Legal Limited are experts in this field. Appeals periods are not extended and you need to come to us well ahead of time.
- Identify how Immigration New Zealand has breached its policy or otherwise acted unreasonably. Unreasonably is going to be seen at a high threshold for decisions under section 11 of the Immigration Act 2009.
- Immigration New Zealand is not responsible for your representative’s mistake. Did a past family member or unlicensed or licensed adviser or lawyer contribute to the problem? If so, how has Immigration New Zealand acted unreasonably despite that contribution? The classic situation is leaving renewal of visa to the last moment. That is not Immigration New Zealand’s fault.
This list is general information only and is not to be treated as legal advice in any particular case.
Richard Small, from an NZAMI seminar in Christchurch in April 2014