Our immigration lawyers assist a diverse range of clients with residence, work and visitor visa applications, as well as family visa applications and complex entrepreneur and investor visa applications. We also represent clients in their appeals before the Immigration & Protection Tribunal and the High Court. 

As a full-service law firm, we can help you with all of your legal needs, including purchasing property, or a business, or your Overseas Investment Office (OIO) applications.

If you want to start or buy a business or invest in New Zealand - we can help with advising on all the relevant immigration requirements.. We don’t just advise on the visa requirements, we can advise you on all associated legal aspects of investing and doing business as part of our service.

If you have capital and the right skills, New Zealand can offer you dedicated investor visas that open up opportunities for you to settle, or at least spend considerable time here, enjoying all our beautiful country has to offer.

You can apply for a Business (Entrepreneur) visa if you plan to purchase or establish a business in New Zealand.

New Zealand wants to attract capital to our economy. Investor migrants can enjoy the New Zealand lifestyle without having to work.

Investor 1 Category, Investor 2 Category, Parent Retirement Category and Temporary Retirement Category.

While Entrepreneur Work and Entrepreneur Residence Visas also require considerable investments, they are primarily based on buying or establishing and running a business in New Zealand and are covered by a separate visa policy.

Different levels of investments are required for different investor visa types:

  • Investor 1 Category: NZD$10 million
  • Investor 2 Category: NZD$3 million investment
  • Parent Retirement Category: NZD$1.0 million investment + NZD$0.5 million settlement funds, plus family and annual income requirements
  • Temporary Retirement Category: NZD$0.75 million investment + NZD$0.5 million settlement funds, and annual income requirements

If you are looking to obtain residence, the most typical route is to go under the Skilled Migrant Category pathway. We are experts in this visa category, having assisted numerous clients to gain residence across a range of occupations.

Whether you are in New Zealand or are offshore, we will tailor our service to your needs every time. We are happy to provide you with our full service (do everything from preparing and submitting your Expression of Interest, preparing and submitting your formal residence application, to liaising with Immigration New Zealand directly at all stages without your direct involvement to conclusion of the visa process) or limited assistance (providing you with guidance at certain key times during the process) depending on your needs.

  • help you to identify whether your qualifications and experience will be enough to obtain residence
  • advise you as to what your job description for your job will need to look like
  • work out how many points you are eligible for and how you can obtain additional points in accordance with current immigration instructions
  • recommend any alternative options for you to gain residence, if the Skilled Migrant Category is not a suitable pathway in your circumstances.

We know what’s required to obtain a Work Visa so you can work here without breaching New Zealand’s immigration laws.

Employers can be reluctant to offer someone a position if they cannot start work for an extended period (for example whilst a Skilled Migrant Category residence visa application is being processed) especially when there is no guarantee the employee will be granted a visa. Getting advice from one of our immigration experts can be critical in saving you time and reducing the chances of missing out on the perfect job opportunity.

Please note that we are not able to assist you with finding work. There are a number of recruitment specialists in New Zealand that may be able to assist you in this regard depending on your skills and qualifications.

Once you have found an employer who would like to employ you, one of our Immigration experts, can work with you and your new employer on submitting a suitable work visa application to Immigration New Zealand in the required format.

There are a number of work visas that can be applied for depending on your circumstances, including:

  • Essential Skills Work Visa
  • Partnership-Based Work Visa
  • Long Term Skills Shortage List
  • Post-Study Work Visa – Open
  • Post-Study Work Visa – Employer Assisted
  • Talent (Accredited Employer) Work Visa
  • Specific Purpose or Event Work Visa
  • South Island Contribution Work Visa.
Essential Skills Work Visas

From 28 August 2017, remuneration bands have been introduced to help determine skill levels. Essential Skills Work Visa holders are now classified as highly-skilled, mid-skilled, and lower-skilled by Immigration New Zealand.

Those Work Visa holders that are classified as lower-skilled will be able to obtain Work Visas for a maximum duration of three years, after which they will be subject to a 12 months stand down period offshore, before they can obtain a further Essential Skills Work Visa.

Lower-skilled Work Visa holders will not be eligible to have their family members accompany them to New Zealand (unless they can qualify for visas in their own right).

If you are currently employed in New Zealand, your employer may be able to sponsor you for another Essential Skills Work Visa. The most important thing is for the employer to demonstrate that no New Zealanders are available to take the position. This is primarily done in two ways – either that the position is on the skills shortage list, or if they can provide evidence that they have made genuine attempts to recruit New Zealanders but have been unsuccessful.

If you want to continue working in the same occupation but for a different employer, depending on your current visa conditions, you may be able to apply to Immigration New Zealand for a variation of conditions of work.

Talk to us to find out how we can help.

Whether you applied for a visa to remain in, or travel to, New Zealand, when you receive a negative decision from Immigration New Zealand don’t panic all may not be lost!

Generally, when you are refused a visa you may have one or more of the following options:

  • Lodge a fresh visa application with resolved concerns – addressing the areas that Immigration New Zealand based the refusal on. You may need to wait for your circumstances to substantially change enough to make a stronger visa application. We don’t recommend rushing into a fresh visa application, small investment in advice on how you can present a stronger application could improve your chances of success and give you a peace of mind.
  • Lodge a complaint to Immigration New Zealand – if you believe that the immigration authorities failed to follow their own processes or that there was improper conduct on the part of an immigration official assessing your application, a complaint can be submitted.
  • Seek reconsideration of your temporary visa refusal – this option is only available if you still have time remaining on your current visa. You must submit your request for reconsideration within a specific time limit.
  • Appeal to the Immigration & Protection Tribunal – there are several different types of appeals that can be lodged with the Immigration & Protection Tribunal. Each has its own form to fill out and usually a fee to pay.

    You can appeal each Immigration New Zealand decision only once. The Tribunal cannot accept an appeal if you have no right of appeal. Time is critical, as there is a set period within which appeals must be lodged.

    It is important to seek professional advice and assistance as soon as possible, particularly regarding your right to appeal and prospects of success.

The most suitable option will depend on your personal circumstances, including your current visa status; whether you are onshore or offshore; whether you still have time remaining on your current visa or whether you are unlawful; and of course, on your resources, whether you can afford to pay for an appeal to the Tribunal or a new visa application.

We can assist you with determining which option is most suitable in your circumstances and which would have the best chances of success.

Depending on your particular circumstances, we could pursue one or more of the above options.

All applicants must establish that they are of ‘good character’ to be granted a visa. For those who cannot, we recommend that you seek professional assistance as soon as possible. We can give you an initial view on your situation.

If we believe we can assist, we will explain the options you have, the chance of success, and the costs associated with engaging us.

No one can guarantee success in this area. Our guarantee is that we will be honest and will prepare the best possible arguments based on your particular circumstances for either a Character Waiver and/or a Special Direction request.

Medical reviews in the visa process can cause significant processing delays, and in the worst case scenario can lead to visa decline if not handled competently.

Wherever possible, we will assist you to resolve any medical issues raised during your visa processing, including by submitting a request for a medical waiver where this is an option.

All visa applications* must be determined by Immigration New Zealand in accordance with rules of fairness and natural justice. Part of these rules is providing applicants with an opportunity to comment on any potentially prejudicial or unfavorable information before Immigration New Zealand makes a decision based on such information. Letters setting out concerns from potentially prejudicial information are known as ‘PPI letters’.

If you have received a PPI letter from Immigration New Zealand setting out their concerns with respect to your eligibility for a visa - this is a critical time. You should seek expert advice as soon as possible on how best to address the concerns to secure a positive outcome. If you ignore the PPI letter and fail to respond, Immigration New Zealand will decline your visa application.

We are experts in this field, having assisted numerous applicants with their responses to PPI letters. Where we believe we can assist you with a response, we will explain the options you have, your chances of success, and the costs associated with engaging us.

If we believe we cannot resolve Immigration New Zealand’s concerns or where there is a high chance that Immigration New Zealand will decline your application even if you engage us to respond on your behalf, we will inform you of our opinion so that you can make an informed decision on your next steps.

*Please note that for Temporary Visa applications made offshore, Immigration New Zealand are not required to provide applicants with an opportunity to comment on any potentially prejudicial or unfavorable information before a decision is made on this information.

Liability for deportation can arise in a number of situations. In many cases, a person can appeal against their liability, within certain timeframes.

You can become liable for deportation if:

  • you stay in New Zealand beyond the expiry date of your visa
  • you breach other conditions of your visa (for example, working when you only hold a visitor visa)
  • you are convicted for a criminal offence
  • Immigration New Zealand finds that false or misleading information had been provided, or relevant information had been withheld, in any prior application or request you submitted or in which you were included.

This is a serious matter. If you are concerned that you may be liable for deportation it is very important that you seek legal advice as soon as possible.

We are experts in this complex area and have assisted various clients to successfully contest their liability for deportation.

You may be able to appeal against your deportation liability, depending on your circumstances and the time the liability arose.

Talk to us to find out how we can help.

The Immigration & Protection Tribunal hears appeals about decision made by Immigration New Zealand on:

  • residence class visas;
  • deportation (including appeals on humanitarian grounds); and
  • claims to be recognised as a refugee or protected person.

We have expertise in this complex area and have assisted various clients with their appeals to the Tribunal.

If you are unlawfully in New Zealand you may be able to submit a request under Section 61 of the Immigration Act to Immigration New Zealand to consider granting you a visa. These requests are only granted by Immigration New Zealand in special cases.

We can advise you whether or not we believe a Section 61 request is a suitable option in your circumstances.

If we believe we can assist, we will explain the chance of success and the costs associated with engaging us.

We have assisted various clients to apply for and secure different types of visas through a direct approach to the Minister or the Associate Minister of Immigration.

The Minister of Immigration has the power to grant a visa on terms and conditions the Minister deems fit, outside immigration policy requirements. That is, the Minister can personally waive any immigration requirement for a visa or impose another condition on a person, visa or a document.

Special directions are only made in exceptional circumstances. We can advise you whether or not we believe that such circumstances exist in your case.

If we believe we can assist, we will explain the chance of success and the costs associated with engaging us.

 

Mike McMellon

Position: Partner
Email: mike.mcmellon@pittandmoore.co.nz
DDI: +64 3 545 6710