Requesting Your Information from Immigration New Zealand. Pacific Legal is the recognized field leader.


Here at Pacific Legal we have a long-standing reputation for requesting our clients’ files even in routine cases under the Privacy and Official Information Acts. This is because time and again we have found information that clients, sponsors and employers were not aware of. The file is far more than the emails and letters the client may have received. Pacific Legal has become known as a leader in this area and we have been able to make a critical difference for clients ranging from large business owners to those without current visas because we actually check before diving into a case.

We have also represented clients whose advisors have unfortunately not done this on their behalf. We have fixed a number of messes again ranging from investor to family-related applications. We have seen high-value clients needlessly lose residence because of this careless approach.

Where there is any risk it’s an ethical obligation for lawyers or advisers to request the INZ file.

Recently we represented a client in the Immigration Advisers Complaints and Disciplinary Tribunal which deals with complaints against licensed immigration advisers. The licensed immigration adviser was ordered to pay compensation to our clients for failing to request their file amongst other things. The Tribunal noted that:(1)

The complainant presented to her as a person with an immigration history in New Zealand of about nine years and whom she knew to be unlawful. That being the case, she should have lodged an information request to find out accurately and comprehensively his immigration history. An adviser cannot rely on a client’s memory and often inadequate records of their own history.

Some advisers rely on calls to the immigration contact Centre which does provide some helpful information, but in many cases that by itself will not be enough.

The same standard that applies to advisers would apply to lawyers.

The Records Need To Be Accessible

Not only has our firm led the way regarding disclosure of information but we have also worked on transparency of Immigration New Zealand’s recordkeeping for a number of years. Recently the Chief Archivist who oversees public records issued a rare Direction to Report noting:

The Chief Archivist issued this direction to report to the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment in December 2021 after concerns were raised with Archives New Zealand about Immigration New Zealand’s recordkeeping and information management practices by Richard Small, Director of Pacific Legal Ltd.(2)

We are continuing to find new categories of information which may not be retained and made accessible to applicants.

Pacific Legal and its Director Richard Small has been at the forefront of discussions with Immigration New Zealand and the Privacy Commissioner about improving disclosure. In mid-2022 working with other immigration professionals and Immigration New Zealand representatives a new Standard Operating Procedure was developed to improve disclosure on request for clients.

At a recent Legal-Wise conference for the industry Richard shared these recent developments with other lawyers and advisers. It is clear that there is a great deal of variation in how much and how frequently representatives ask for files.

We Can Help!

Having full information can be difference between success and failure. If you feel that your file has not been requested when it should have been or if you have concerns about information Immigration New Zealand may hold; contact our friendly team we’d be delighted to help. We know Immigration New Zealand’s information systems and what to ask for.


(1): NG v Murthy [2023] NZIACDT 10
(2): For the full report dated 15 December 2022, click here.