The issue

Sometimes at Laurent Law we meet people who have supported someone for a Residence Visa in the past, but later enter into a new relationship with a different person and want to sponsor this other person for a Residence Visa too. As Lawyers it is very important for us to have a good understanding of Immigration Instructions relevant to this situation to ensure the correct advice is given.

The answer

The answer to the question is “yes”, you can support a second partner for a Residence Visa BUT ONLY if you have successfully supported only one person in the past AND that was more than 5 years ago. Sometimes we meet people who are not fully aware of this rule, so where a client is seeking assistance with a Residence application based on partnership it is important for us to specifically ask the client if they have previously successfully supported a partner for Residence and give advice on what they can and cannot do accordingly. In some situations this may result in disappointment.

However, tricky situations can be solved

A tricky situation arises where a person wants to support a Partner for Residence, but has successfully supported two or more partners in the past, or one within the last 5 years. These situations are excluded by Immigration Instructions. The basic response is to say that any further Residence application based on partnership will be declined.

However, it is important to recognise that a declined Residence application gives rise to a right of appeal to the Immigration and Protection Tribunal which can be pursued based on “special circumstances”. If the Tribunal finds that special circumstances exist, it can recommend the Minister of Immigration grant Residence as an exception. The Minister of Immigration will then make the final decision, and in our experience the Minister usually follows the recommendation made by the Tribunal.


We recently assisted the partner of a New Zealand citizen who had successfully supported two people for Residence in the past. On the face of it, the New Zealander could not support her current Partner for Residence. We explained to our client that any Residence application for the overseas partner would be declined and any chance of getting Residence would have to be pursued by way of appeal to the Immigration and Protection Tribunal.

We prepared detailed appeal submissions which resulted in the decision KZ (Partnership) [2021] NZIPT 206285, in which the Tribunal found that special circumstances existed and recommended the grant of Residence. This subsequently led to the Associate Minister of Immigration granting Residence to the overseas partner. Our clients were very happy!

A link to the decision is available on our website here, so you can read the detail for yourself. The Tribunal said the following about the couple’s partnership:

  • Our New Zealand citizen’s previous relationships were several years ago and were genuine and enduring. There was no suggestion that the new application would result in Residence being granted to persons in “serial unsustainable relationships”;
  • The couple had been together for more than 5 years and they had spent significant periods of time living together in each other’s countries;
  • The New Zealand citizen partner had strong connections to New Zealand, through family, business and property ownership. It was more practical for the overseas partner to come and live in New Zealand, rather than the New Zealander moving to live overseas in the partner’s home country;

The outcome of this appeal shows that sometimes a solution can be found to problems that at first sight may seem insurmountable. We cannot fix everything or solve every problem, but many situations can be resolved through some clever thinking. Note that the likelihood of the Tribunal finding special circumstances, and recommending the grant of Residence, needs to be viewed with the reasons identified above in mind, because situations that do not have similar features may not have the same outcome.

If you have an immigration problem you need help with, please contact us to see if we can help!