Interim visas – Tips and Traps! | Pitt & Moore, Lawyers in Nelson
Interim visas – Tips and Traps!
Interim Visas were first introduced to our immigration landscape around eight years ago as per section 80 of the Immigration Act 2009.
If a visa applicant in New Zealand applies for a new temporary visa before the expiry of their current temporary visa, an Interim Visa can be issued to maintain their lawful status, should their current visa expire, while awaiting the outcome of their application.
Unlike other visas, there is no right to apply for an Interim Visa under the Immigration Act. Immigration NZ issues Interim Visas automatically unless certain conditions apply and this is where some clients can get into trouble.
The key points to note are:
Firstly, Immigration NZ are not required under the Immigration Act to notify applicants or their advisers that they have decided not to grant an Interim Visa.
Secondly, the Interim Visa which is issued will not necessarily have the same conditions as the visa previously held by your client. For example, someone on a Post-Study Work Visa (Open) who applies for an Essential Skills Work Visa for specified employment will only get an Interim Visa with visitor conditions and hence no right to work. The type of Interim Visa conditions issued are dependent on the last visa held as set out at Instructions I1.10.
Thirdly, Interim Visas last for a maximum of six months, so if a decision is not made in that time by Immigration NZ, you may need to get assistance from an Immigration Lawyer to make sure you don’t become unlawful.
It’s also important to keep in mind that an Interim Visa will not be automatically granted if you:
have particular alerts or warnings related to your character in the INZ's systems;
have an active appeal;
are liable for deportation;
have an open case with the Deputy Chief Executive or the Minister;
have compliance action underway; or
are a student funded through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade or the New Zealand Aid Programme.
In any of the above cases, the decision about whether you will be granted an Interim Visa is made by an Immigration Officer. For this reason Immigration Lawyers and Immigration Advisers need to be conscious of when an Interim Visa won’t be automatic and advise their client’s accordingly.
In short, if Immigration NZ haven’t confirmed an Interim Visa has been granted to you then follow up to ensure one has or will be granted.
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Disclaimer: This article should not be used as a substitute for immigration/legal advice tailored for your specific circumstances.