Lincoln Tan

Lincoln Tan is the New Zealand Herald’s diversity, ethnic affairs and immigration senior reporter.

Migrant advisers angry incomplete applications are to be accepted

Last year 14,826 people were approved for residence under family-sponsored migration. Photo / Supplied
Last year 14,826 people were approved for residence under family-sponsored migration. Photo / Supplied

As a professional, I would never have submitted an incomplete application, and it's just ridiculous to be penalised for doing that.

Maricel Weischede, Immigration adviser Last year 14,826 people were approved for residence under family-sponsored migration.

Immigration professionals are angry at an Immigration New Zealand decision to process incomplete family sponsorship applications submitted by applicants to get "a foot in the door" before the family sponsorship policy changed last week.

Immigration Minister Nathan Guy announced on May 10 that migrants could no longer sponsor their siblings or close family members, and that the parent sponsorship category was to be temporarily closed on May 15, giving would-be applicants three working days to file their papers.

There had been a surge in applications under the adult child sibling categories and parent sponsorship scheme, with the agency receiving nearly 7400 submissions since November.

This was 520 more than over the same period last year, and it is understood it included many incomplete applications from people who could not complete their forms on deadline.

"Applications received on time will be considered according to immigration policy," a spokesman for the agency said.

Immigration adviser Maricel Weischede, who has 12 clients in limbo, said the decision was unfair to applicants who were not given a chance to put in their applications.

"We are talking about a category that will be closed for good, and it's just unfair and rather unprofessional of Immigration not to give everyone a fair chance," Mrs Weischede said. "As a professional, I would never have submitted an incomplete application, and it's just ridiculous to be penalised for doing that."

The New Zealand Association of Migration and Investment has also criticised "the Government's sudden shutdown" of the parent and sibling/adult child pathway to residence.

Association president Simon Laurent had written to the minister asking for the deadline to be extended by a few weeks, but had not got a response.

"A lot of time, money and effort go into preparing a residence application, including comprehensive medical certificates and translation of documents," Mr Laurent said.

"Applicants and their relatives have acted in good faith in preparing their papers, because, up to last week, Immigration represented that they could apply."

He said the public only became aware of plans to terminate these family policies in March through a leaked briefing paper, but it was never specified when and how the policy changes would take place.

The family streams had enabled citizens and residents to sponsor close family members for residence.

Mr Laurent, a lawyer, said New Zealand citizens and residents "deserve better than to be treated in such a cavalier fashion".

Mr Guy said he had no intention of extending the deadline.

The Supreme Sikh Council of New Zealand was taking legal action against the minister claiming the sudden change had prevented many of its members from applying for visas for which they would have been eligible.

Last year, 14,826 people were approved for residence under family-sponsored migration, with China (46 per cent) the largest source of migrants approved through the parent policy, followed by the UK (13 per cent).

- NZ Herald

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