October 2018
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In This Issue
Reconsideratiions - a New Opportunity
Pitfalls with Variations of Visa Conditions
New Overseas Investment Rules are Here
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"From our first meeting, Laurent Law treated me and my partner with courtesy and respect as they expertly guided us through the often intricate steps of applying to New Zealand Immigration for a longer stay. I am still here, happily so, thanks in large part to Laurent Law. I wholeheartedly recommend their staff and services to anyone confronting immigration issues."
Bill, NZ Resident

Laurent Law Barristers & Solicitors
408 Mt Eden Rd, Mt Eden, Auckland, 1024, New Zealand
Ph.  +64-9-630-0411;  Fax  +64-9-630-0412

Since our last newsletter, several new visa policies have shifted the immigration landscape yet again.  We highlight one of them below.
Some readers of our blog and Facebook posts have asked what is happening to the Parent Residence category.  The latest news is - "Nothing, yet".  The Minister of Immigration in his speech to NZAMI in August indicated that he was taking advice on how it might be reactivated; and we have had vague suggestions that a change is in the pipeline . . . but that's all.
We continue to highlight current issues in our  law firm blog.  Subscribe to the blog in order to see up-to-date commentary on trends in the immigration field.

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Simon Laurent
LaurentLaw Barristers & Solicitors
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At the end of August 2018 the Government introduced a simple but significant change to the way that Interim Visas work.  An Interim Visa is usually granted automatically when someone applies for a new visa while in New Zealand, and starts the day after the last regular visa expires.  It preserves their lawful status until a decision is made on the new application.
However, if the new application was declined, INZ used to cancel the Interim Visa on the same day.  People would suddenly become overstayers, and have to request a "section 61" visa.  Immigration can reject those requests out of hand, and give no reasons for doing so.
From now on, however, Interim Visas are deemed to expire 21 days after the main visa application is declined.  The most important result is that visa applicants can apply to have the decline decision reconsidered.  People are only entitled to ask for a reconsideration if they still have a visa to be in New Zealand.   Under the previous regime this was denied to most of them, because they would become overstayers as soon as the decision was made.

A reconsideration request must be filed within 14 days of getting the decline decision.  It must be assessed by a visa officer of the same or higher grade than the original decisionmaker.  It is also possible to put new information forward to show why the visa should be granted.

This is a major improvement for migrants who have marginal cases, or who get poor decisions against them.  Instead of having to take their chances with a "section 61" case, they can now require visa officers to apply the existing policy to any reconsideration - as well as consider an exception to Instructions - and they are entitled to get a reasoned decision in writing.
If you know anyone who has just had their application refused, chances are that we might be able to help - but we need to know about it quickly.

Work Visas specify who you may work for, the job you may do, and the town where you can work.  If you go to work for someone else without getting the visa changed, this is an automatic breach of your visa.

At worst, this can result in you being made liable for deportation.  Even if this doesn't happen, it can seriously damage your chances of getting visas in the future.  It also puts your employer at risk of being prosecuted for employing someone on the wrong visa, and Immigration has been cracking down on employer compliance in the last 2 years in a big way.

Every week we talk to people who get themselves into strife.  If they come to us early, we can successfully untangle the situation, but it needs to be done carefully.

Read Jacqui Lee's blog about VOCs to find out more.
New Overseas Investment Rules are Here

This month it became impossible for non-Residents to buy residential homes in New Zealand.  From 22 October, people who do not have Citizenship or Residence cannot buy a residential house or apartment to live in themselves. 

As highlighted in our last newsletter, this delivers on the Labour Government's election promise to tighten up on foreign ownership of New Zealand's housing stock.  The Government did agree, however, to allow overseas people to invest in residential housing developments in order to help fund its drive to increase the national housing stock.  It has also agreed to allow Residents who don't live here, and offshore companies with a partial NZ shareholding, to buy NZ houses, but they must apply for consent to do so.
Overall, the classes of people and organisations who must apply to the Overseas Investment Office for consent to buy has expanded.  Even those who have Residence must show that they have lived in the country as a Resident for at least 6 months of the last year; otherwise they will need to apply for consent.
In line with the OIO's advice, here are a few recommendations for those who may be caught by the new rules:
  • Check whether the property you want to buy is classed as Residential land;
  • If you haven't yet found a suitable property, but you are interested in buying, you can get Pre-Approval from the OIO which gives you more security in being able to sign up a purchase agreement in the future;
  • Real estate purchase agreements should be made conditional upon getting consent to buy.  Otherwise, you could be locked into completing a purchase which you legally cannot fulfil, and face being sued by the vendor.
Laurent Law is currently developing processes to help people know their rights and to make decisions.
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