Fate rolls the dice on the immigration process
The immigration process is sometimes such a ruthless box-ticking exercise we can forget that there are higher stakes at play. Other factors than correctly filling out forms should come under consideration.
The immigration process should be humanised
Immigration is about human beings; it is not merely a process or procedure. It is real. People’s futures are dictated by the decision-making process: not only where they live, but also how their life eventually pans out.
Heartrending immigration case
Anna (not her real name) is a Pacific Islander. She was married with seven children, one of whom has New Zealand citizenship. She arrived here in 2002 and was later joined by her husband and children.
Anna had a heart condition and surgery was needed for her survival. She and her family were fighting an immigration battle to not only stay in New Zealand, but also to get permanent residence so that she could access the public health system.
Deportation orders had been issued against the family and compliance officials wanted them to leave immediately.
You can imagine the joy and relief when they learnt at our legal office that we had managed to regularise their stay and that a letter confirming their permanent residence status was on its way. The family was overwhelmed with joy. They too had a bright future and Anna had a chance to live.
Another immigration battle
Ronda and her son arrived in New Zealand to see her sister on a visitor’s visa. Her husband works in Dubai and she found a compliance-related position in the financial industry and applied for a work visa. She was told that it would be a simple form-filling exercise, but when Immigration New Zealand (INZ) officials asked her questions, she failed to grasp their relevance. Her application was thus declined.
After a year-long battle, she acquired legal status and is considering applying for permanent residence. This family will become skilled migrants and I am confident that they will be an asset to New Zealand.
Worker becomes an illegal overstayer
Abay arrived in New Zealand as an international student, completed his education, obtained a job-search visa (one year), secured a job offer and then a two-year work visa. However, his New Zealand residence application was declined.
At the end of two years, he was obliged to apply for a new work visa and since his grace period was up for the category of work he had done earlier (at a Petrol Station). He had to undergo a labour market test as a part of ‘Essential Skills Work Visa.’
Abay’s employer was obliged to prove that there were no New Zealanders available to undertake this role. Since this was an unfamiliar route, the requirements and immigration process were neither understood, nor met, and the NZ visa application failed.
Abay became an illegal stayer, and he was advised to file an appeal on humanitarian grounds to the Immigration Protection Tribunal.
For this appeal to be successful, exceptional circumstances are required. It is often difficult to show exceptional circumstances so these appeals are not likely to succeed, especially when a large number of applications are submitted to the Tribunal.
Abay then came to see an immigration lawyer at Idesi Legal.
I cautioned him taking this immigration route and we withdrew Abay’s appeal, since we were able to legalise his stay through another route.
If the appeal had gone ahead, it would have failed and Abay would have been subject to deportation with a five year ban of re-entry to New Zealand.
Immigration is about humanity; it is about humanising the process, conveying emotions, seeking survival and giving people a chance!
After all, fate rolls the dice. Who knows what and who is next!