Unfriendly stand ires applicants

TDA Immigration and Student Services Limited (TDA) stopped accepting overseas clients applying under the Skilled Migrant Category (SMC), without a confirmed skilled job offer, when Immigration New Zealand (INZ) changed its policy and announced that no applicant will be granted residence unless they had an offer of skilled employment.

TDA took this position because no ‘real’ employer will offer a migrant a ‘real’ confirmed skilled job when the person has never been to New Zealand, the employer has never met the applicant and the person has no visa.

In my opinion, the reality is that a job would be offered only if the employer was a relative of the applicant or the applicant had paid big dollars for the job.

Let me explain the case of a client under SMC. My client first tried to migrate to Australia but were rejected. His wife, who was the principal applicant, was a teacher.

Registered teacher

We first applied for New Zealand teacher registration for the principal applicant in July 2009. Full registration was eventually granted in December 2009. We completed the Expression of Interest (EOI) and sent it to client to correct and fill in missing information in February 2009. But because of difficulties in dealing with the principal applicant’s husband, who would not let us talk to or correspond with his wife, the EOI was not submitted until August 11, 2010.

With her qualifications and experience, the principal applicant had more than 140 points. Consequently, her EOI was selected from the EOI selection pool on August 11, 2010; a confirmation was sent by INZ on August 18, 2010; and her invitation to apply for residence was received on August 26, 2010. Her completed application for residence was lodged with INZ on October 13, 2010.

Language challenge

INZ Delhi then challenged her English language ability and demanded my client sit the IELTS test to prove that she had Level 6.5 for her English language ability. We refused on behalf of our client. We pointed out that as she was a New Zealand registered teacher, New Zealand Teachers Council had already assessed her English language ability was equivalent to at least IELTS level 7.

But INZ kept on demanding an IELTS and we kept on telling them that they had no legal right to demand such a test when she had already been certified by the New Zealand Teachers Council as being at level 7.0.

We eventually won that fight. However, this process delayed processing for several months from 2011 through to 2012.

The process chain

In March 2011, INZ confirmed to us that our client’s application was in a managed queue and that it would be at least 15 months before they could process it.

We advised the client (through her husband) that she should come to New Zealand and look for a job as a teacher.

We made this recommendation because we knew that INZ would, at best, only grant a Work to Residence Visa as she had no job offer.

We also knew that if she was in New Zealand, her application would be transferred to Auckland for processing and that it may be approved within three months of her finding a job.

Unfortunately, the husband refused. He did want to come to New Zealand and he would not allow his wife to do so.

Their application was eventually declined because INZ claimed the applicant’s work experience documentation was inadequate thus negating the points claimed.

I do not think that INZ did a good job in the processing of this case.

Unacceptable behaviour

I think that the delays coming out of the INZ Delhi office were unacceptable.

The refusal to accept the assessment of my client at level 7.0 for English was an abuse of power by an INZ officer, who felt that they had the power and could order anything they wanted.

I also have problems with the competence and attitude of INZ’s native Indian case officers towards applicants.

This is mainly in partnership applications as we do not generally handle other application types out of India.

However, I also have to recognise that INZ Delhi office faces a much higher incidence of applicants blatantly lying and/or providing false documents; especially in partnership cases.

I am currently preparing a formal complaint against INZ Delhi office about the way they treat applicants in partnership cases.

I hope to provide a full report and disclosure to Indian Newslink in the near future.

Tuariki Delamere is a former Minister of Immigration and the principal consultant of TDA Immigration and Student Services Limited.

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