The voice on the phone said, “We are a specialist IT company developing a new app which is growing rapidly in NZ and we have the opportunity to export it to the USA and other countries”.  He continued, “We have found this IT expert in South America, but INZ declined his work visa application. This guy is international quality and will enable us to move our whole company to the next level, and to expand into the American markets.  Can you help?”

The applicant, ‘H’ had worked for major recognised IT companies in South America, USA and Canada. He holds a number of patents and is an internationally recognised author of numerous technical publications.

The problem was that whilst living and working in Canada, he had applied to renew his visa, but the Canadian immigration service lost his application, and by the time he realised something had gone wrong, his visa had expired and he was illegal. He submitted new applications, but they were declined because he was illegally in the country.

With the job offer from the NZ employer, H applied for a work visa for NZ, but In spite of his international reputation and the skills, experience and contacts he could provide to the employer and to NZ, INZ declined his work visa application because of his declined visa applications in Canada.

Although he had advised INZ briefly, the reason his Canadian applications were declined, he and his employer were looking at the situation from their points of view, not that of the NZ government and his application was declined.  Why?

INZ officers are required to find a balance between letting in people who will be good for NZ and keeping out those they consider will be of risk of breaching the terms of their visas and becoming illegal in NZ.  Because we understand those challenges we were able to submit a new application in a way which INZ could reconsider his risk profile and his work visa was granted.

Unfortunately, because he and his employer had tried to do it themselves, the cost and delay were considerably higher than would have been the case if they’d had professional advice from the start of the process.   So often we hear, “But it’s only a work visa, it can’t be too difficult”! Yeah right.