Informing the decision makers of visa refusals – necessary?
Immigration legislation is cause for concern
NZ immigration legislation penalises visa applicants for ‘misleading’ information
The number of people who have provided misleading information to Immigration New Zealand (INZ) has increased since the implementation of the Immigration Act 2009.
The legislation has a low threshold and strict liability test which means many more migrants are denied a visa based on character concerns.
Increasing number of visa refusals
The failure to declare that a previous INZ visa application had been declined is regarded as providing misleading information. It is seen as lying and so illustrates a character flaw, which is grounds for declining a visa.
The current legislation has the potential of depriving a person of NZ residency.
Section 158(1) (b) (ii) of the Immigration Act 2009 states that:
A residence class visa holder is liable for deportation if any of the information provided in relation to the person’s, or any other person’s, application, or purported application, for a visa on the basis of which the residence class visa was granted was fraudulent, forged, false, or misleading, or any relevant information was concealed.
From a logical and common sense viewpoint, it is difficult to fathom how you can mislead a decision-maker of a decision they have already made. However, when it comes to immigration, you can. Thousands of dollars and both official and judicial time are spent on such matters.
What are visa refusals?
Failure to declare a visa refusal usually occurs because the applicant cannot recall the date and nature of the visa refusal, or because the applicant thought that INZ was already aware of them being turned down for a NZ visa, or they had previously mentioned it in an application. It also occurs because a third party is filling the application form on their behalf and does not ask the applicant whether a NZ visa has ever been refused.
It can also happen because a residency applicant does not realise that a declined residence constitutes a visa refusal.
These matters are arguably trivial; they do not really constitute misleading in the strict sense.
Immigration system clogged
Cases such as these have the potential to clog our system and waste resources and can mean we are missing out on potentially good migrants that deserve a second chance. But, beware, a small mistake may potentially cost you and your family the opportunity to reside in New Zealand.
These hold-ups and missed opportunities could be avoided if Immigration New Zealand (INZ) did away with this requirement and developed in-house systems through its ‘Vision 2020’ platform, an online system which could be programmed to load this data by linking it to a client number.
This pre-loading would avoid all issues currently involved with previous visa refusals and would allow INZ and the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment to concentrate on more important issues.
Depriving the deserving
A small tweaking of the system so visa refusals are recorded and linked to applicants could prevent the despair of many migrants who are put through this rigmarole.
It would make more sense for the system design to be proactive rather than punitive.