INZ false information on visa application


Immigration New Zealand (INZ) is changing how they respond to false or misleading information in visa applications.

From 25 September 2023, immigration officers will begin using section 58(6) of the Immigration Act. This section allows an immigration officer 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.

Using this section of the Immigration Act reflects Parliament’s expectation that people submit applications with true and complete information. This helps protect the integrity of the immigration system.

Section 58(6) does not require an immigration officer to be satisfied the applicant intentionally provided false or misleading information before the application can be declined.

Immigration officers will be advised to 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.

These character instructions will be updated to clarify that immigration officers do not need to establish an applicant intentionally provided false or misleading information, or intentionally withheld relevant information, for there to be a character issue in subsequent applications. This approach aligns with the Immigration Act regarding appropriate responses to false, misleading or withheld information.

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 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 standardizes 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 on 25 September.

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