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Immigration approves declined applicants

Immigration New Zealand (INZ) has apologised to 253 potential Indian migrants for having wrongly declined their applications earlier.

Readers may recall a news item that we had carried on this page in our October 1, 2013 issue in which we had stated that INZ was reassessing 450 applications following an Ombudsman’s ruling.

The Ombudsman, in upholding at least 14 complaints, had obliged the Government to review all the declined applications. The complainants had accused the Indian branch of INZ of racial discrimination and challenged the decision-making process.

INZ Mumbai Area Manager Nathanael Mackay tendered an apology to the affected applicants on behalf of his Department.

Right systems

He said that extra staff training was in place to ensure that such errors do not recur and that all applications are appropriately assessed.

“We have reassessed these cases as a matter of priority and have reviewed them extremely thoroughly and carefully,” he says. “I am confident that we now have the right systems and processes in place to prevent any similar situation happening in the future,” he said.

According to the statement, INZ agreed that too much weight had been placed on ensuring that customers had incentives to return home.

The Department identified 442 potentially affected applicants whose partnership applications were declined on bona fides or on bona fides and partnership grounds.

“In most cases, no assessment was taken of the relationship claimed between the client and the supporting partner in New Zealand. The reassessments were undertaken by immigration officers who were not involved in any previous decisions relating to the cases,” Mr MacKay said.

He said that following reassessment, 253 applications (57%) were approved, 173 applications (40%) were declined and 11 applications (3%) were still pending.

The remaining five clients chose to withdraw their applications.

“Of the approved applications, 56% were granted a partnership visa as per their original application, while the rest were issued visitor visas. More than half of the declined applications were because of the failure of applicants to reply to requests for further information,” Mr Mackay said.

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