From 25 September 2023, Immigration New Zealand (INZ) will be changing how they respond to false or misleading information in visa applications.
Immigration officers will begin using section 58(6) of the Immigration Act, which allows them to decline to grant a visa if an applicant (or their agent) submits false or misleading information or withholds relevant information in their visa application.
With this change, INZ expects people to submit applications with true and complete information, protecting the integrity of the immigration system.
Immigration officers will not be required to consider that an applicant intentionally provided false or misleading information before the application can be declined, this means that they will consider surrounding circumstances before an application is decided.
Where false and misleading information was included in previous applications
If someone previously submitted false or misleading information, or withheld relevant information, any future visa applications will continue to be considered using immigration instructions relating to character.
Applicants who do not meet character requirements will still be considered for a character waiver before a decision is made. As part of this, immigration officers will consider the significance of the false, misleading or withheld information, the intentions and involvement of the applicant, and other factors set out in character instructions.
Character waiver processes updated
As part of this work, INZ has refreshed the character waiver process for all character issues.
The new process standardises the practice of sending one Potentially Prejudicial Information letter asking for comment on the character issue and why a character waiver should be granted, instead of sending two separate letters.
Where false or misleading information is linked to migrant exploitation
Where false information was provided in a previous visa application, and that incident is connected to a credible report of migrant exploitation, immigration officers can disregard that incident under current character instructions for temporary visa applications. This allowance will be added to character instructions for resident visas along with the other changes.
For any questions regarding this update or any further immigration matters, please contact Arno Nothnagel, our NZ Immigration Director, here.