Discussions with senior staff at Immigration New Zealand have confirmed what we’d assumed, that over the last year there has been increasing media and political pressure on INZ to decline or reject applications where they can.

Consequently, we have experienced our busiest year ever, as we are asked to help sort out mistakes by applicants and employers which have led to challenges and declines by INZ.

Common reasons for challenge or decline by INZ are:

  • Failure by the employer to provide current evidence of attempts to recruit NZers for every employer-based work visa application.
  • Failure by the employer to ensure that the position description is comparable with the tasks in ANZSCO. (Click on the link, insert the job title in the Search field, and check that the tasks identified are substantially similar to your PD).
  • Failure by the applicant to acknowledge past convictions.
  • Failure by applicant to account for change in relationship status e.g. single to partner
  • Failure to complete ALL the fields in an application. If a field is not applicable, show N/A and/or rule a line through it. The case officer can’t assume that it does not apply.
  • Claiming points in a skilled residence application (SMC) for qualifications which are not recognised, or work experience without evidence, or that is not relevant to the position.
  • Attempting to argue with INZ who have challenged an application. INZ must make their decision based on verifiable evidence provided with the application. Just because you think a position is skilled, does not mean it meets ‘skilled’ criteria as identified in ANZSCO [see above].

Sometimes, a poorly prepared application or one which has been lodged under the wrong category has to be withdrawn so that a replacement can be submitted. This requires close liaison with INZ to ensure that the applicant does not become an overstayer when the current visa expires during the process.

Although professional help in preparing an application may seem expensive, attempting to fix one which has been challenged or declined will be much more so, especially, if your lawyer or adviser has to defer other work to meet your deadline.

He said, “It’s only a work visa, how hard can it be?” Well, in my opinion, because work visas are seen by media and government as taking jobs from Kiwis, work visa applications are the 2nd most challenging category of immigration.