Sangam applied for a partnership-based visitor visa to enter New Zealand and reunite with his wife Drishti in 2019. Drishti, at that time, was in New Zealand on a Student Visa. However, Immigration New Zealand (INZ) declined the application as the Immigration Officer was not satisfied that the couple met the requirements of living together in a genuine and stable relationship as defined by the New Zealand immigration instructions.
After the decline, the couple was sad and dejected and started looking for an experienced immigration adviser to review their case and help Sangam reapply. Whilst doing their research, they came across the profile of our Senior Licensed Adviser Vandana Rai, who has immense experience with partnership applications.
Sangam’s wife, Drishti, met Vandana at their office in Auckland, and Sangam joined the meeting on the phone. Vandana went through the decline letter noting the concerns listed, and suggested ways to mitigate those concerns by providing additional documents to satisfy the immigration requirements. As a result, a new application with additional documentary evidence was lodged in late 2019.
The application was in the queue when the COVID-19 pandemic hit in March 2020, which meant that the application processing was put on hold. However, Vandana was in regular touch with the couple and actively kept looking for border exception options. The moment INZ announced the new border exception criteria for partners of critical health workers, Vandana contacted Drishti as she was aware that Drishti was working as a caregiver. After completing the necessary formalities, Vandana lodged an Expression of Interest (EOI) for a border exception.
However, INZ declined the border exception request by relying solely on the previous decline and overlooked the updated information/documentation provided along with the subsequent application. After reviewing the decline letter and noting the procedural flaws, Vandana and her team made a reassessment request to INZ. In the request for reassessment, the submission pinpointed an incorrect assessment process followed, with utter disregard for fairness and natural justice principles. INZ accepted the error and provided two options to the client- to either allow INZ to continue the processing of the existing application or lodge a fresh one. Client instruction were taken to go ahead with the option of continuing with the existing application and Vandana provided all the updated evidence of the relationship.
The application was approved within two weeks, and Sangam is now making his travel arrangements to New Zealand to reunite with his wife. This case study highlights the importance of having an experienced licenced immigration adviser who is not only well versed with the immigration instructions and the process but is also able to hold INZ accountable when they falter.
Drishti is eagerly awaiting Sangam’s arrival to New Zealand. We hope the couple is reunited soon and wish them the very best for their future.
(The names of clients have been changed to protect their privacy.)
This article does not constitute immigration advice. Individuals need to seek personal advice from a licensed immigration adviser or lawyer to assess their unique situation.