Here at Laurent Law we can assist with a wide range of different New Zealand Visa applications and appeals. We have a team of Lawyers with a diverse range of experience that can handle almost any type of Visa application, appeal or other immigration-related problem that they are presented with.

Do not think that because we are Lawyers, we cannot handle routine Visa applications and appeals which are frequently also the domain of Licensed Immigration Advisers.

But something we would like to discuss in a bit more detail in this blog, are immigration ‘hard cases’. These are a special focus for the Lawyers at Laurent Law. Immigration ‘hard cases’ are those situations which are unusual and therefore difficult to deal with.

For example, a situation might require a request to the Minister of Immigration for a highly discretionary Special Direction, a complicated appeal with a unique set of facts, urgent action to prevent someone being deported from New Zealand, or you are from what Immigration New Zealand considers to be a ‘high-risk’ country meaning you may need to provide careful evidence of your reasons for coming to New Zealand. People in these difficult situations frequently need specialist professional help.

If you have an immigration hard case you need assistance with, then Laurent Law is here to assist. Applicants frequently come to us directly, however we also receive referrals from Licensed Immigration Advisers when they feel they cannot manage a situation on their own.

We want to identify some of the skills that are needed to handle an immigration ‘hard case’ effectively.

– Clear writing skills. This is important so the Lawyer can successfully convey a submission to an Immigration Officer. Although that person will make the decision, often they do not have a large amount of experience compared to the Lawyer. The Lawyer must be able to explain why a ‘hard case’ should be approved in clear terms, without confusing the Officer. This is often easier said than done, but this is what we practise every day.

– Sound knowledge of Immigration laws and policies. It is important to have an overall understanding of the legal framework that applies in order to be able to ‘spot issues’ or other problems that may exist. Without such understanding, important issues or problems may be missed, to a client’s detriment.

– Ability to think creatively and ‘outside the box’. This is important because all situations are different. The Lawyer needs to be able to apply the law to the specific set of facts they are presented with, rather than ‘memorising’ and applying a set process. The law is vast, and it is not possible to memorise every single part of it. Instead, what a good Lawyer will be able to do is know where to find the law and then know how to apply it. It is reasonable for a good Lawyer to check exactly what the Immigration Act 2009 or Immigration Instructions, or any other statute says, when applying it to a specific set of facts. Lawyers have been trained to do this.


We recently achieved a successful outcome in a situation which was very complex and very much an immigration hard case.

Immigration New Zealand had come to the view that our client had a conviction from many years ago in another country. However, this was difficult to establish clearly as Police Certificates from that country were giving conflicting information.

If correct, the conviction indicated our client was an excluded person in terms of section 15 of the Immigration Act 2009, therefore requiring a Special Direction for any Visa application to be approved.

A Special Direction is a highly discretionary decision, considered by a Senior Immigration Official or the Minister of Immigration. The Special Direction decision maker usually gives no reasons for their decision.

Our client’s Temporary Visa expired, and they became an overstayer. With our assistance, they filed a humanitarian appeal which was successful. The Immigration and Protection Tribunal granted a Work Visa for 1 year (the maximum the Tribunal can grant). This meant we had 1 year to secure an approval of our client’s Residence application.

In the subsequent Residence application, we made submissions in favour of a highly discretionary Special Direction being granted, and also a character waiver. We had to fight hard.

Probably what helped our client was his genuine honesty, his clear remorse for what appeared to have occurred so many years ago and the fact he had a young family in New Zealand. Being deported away from his family was something that would have been terrible. Our client was also working in an occupation in which Immigration New Zealand has identified a labour shortage in New Zealand.

When the Residence application was approved, our client was very happy. A long struggle had come to an end. We want to say that in this case, the Lawyers at Laurent Law had demonstrated their skills in handling a hard case. The case dragged on for nearly 18 months yet we were able to support our client consistently throughout the process and not give up. Clear writing skills, a sound knowledge of immigration law and ability to think outside the box (as identified above) were evident from the outcome reached.

Please contact us here at Laurent Law if you have an immigration hard case and need professional help.