17 June 2009

New Zealand visa application confusion leaves partner high and dry

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A Christchurch man is having trouble securing his wife's New Zealand visa application for permanent residency because a sponsorship for a previous girlfriend was granted by the New Zealand immigration department.

Jamie Sadler previously sponsored an English girlfriend's New Zealand visa application to remain in the country permanently; however, after splitting up the woman continued with the application unbeknownst to Sadler.  Sadler was told by the woman that she would be leaving the country and cancelling her New Zealand visa application, and he thought he would never see her again.

After marrying Iryna, a Ukrainian national, Sadler tried to sponsor another New Zealand visa application for permanent residency through the New Zealand partner visa program.  The New Zealand immigration department were forced to reject his sponsorship because under immigration law New Zealand citizens can only sponsor one person within a five-year period.

Iryna was issued with a two-year New Zealand work visa in December but has been unable to find employment, and has been unable to continue with her studies because of the high costs associated with being a non-resident.

Sadler has taken his case to the assistant minister of New Zealand immigration and to the New Zealand immigration department, so that they could hear his appeal and give his wife's New Zealand visa application a second consideration in light of his circumstances.

"Everyone's saying the ball is in my court, even though I was advised she had cancelled the application," Sadler said.

A spokesperson from the New Zealand immigration department said that a situation such as this should not have happened, and that the English woman's changed circumstances should have been brought to the attention of the authorities.  New Zealand immigration officers should have also been more diligent in ensuring the relationship relied upon for her sponsorship for permanent residency was bona fide.

The New Zealand Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in helping people with their New Zealand visa application.

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