Complicated Cases

Potentially Prejudicial Information (PPI) 


In a PPI letter, Immigration New Zealand (INZ) puts you on notice identifying Potentially Prejudicial Information which may have a negative impact on a visa application. PPI is usually issued when an application is not meeting a particular INZ policy or instructions. It is generally a final opportunity for an applicant to address any concern INZ raises. Where such a concern is not dealt with by way of a satisfactory response, it can lead to a declined decision. Response to PPI letter must be clear, logical, and complete, with a well-articulated explanation and evidence that conclusively backs up your position.




Where a temporary visa application of an onshore applicant is declined, the applicant must be given reasons as to why the immigration officer made his or her decision to decline the application.


The immigration officer must decline an application if they are not satisfied that an applicant has met all of the requirements of the relevant immigration instructions for temporary entry and that an exception to instructions is not justified.


You have a right to apply for reconsideration of your declined visa application under the following circumstances:


  • you are lawfully in New Zealand when you make the application for reconsideration
  • you have 14 days to lodge reconsideration after receiving decline decision from INZ 
  • where the Minister of Immigration did not make the decision to decline your application


The decision for the reconsideration of your application will be final and conclusive. 


Character Waiver


Applicants for all visas to New Zealand must be able to show they are of good character. One must tell INZ if one has been involved in criminal activities or in human rights abuse activities or if one has ever been removed or deported from another country. It may affect how INZ assesses their character whilst processing a visa application. INZ will assess on a case-by-case basis and may either decline the visa application or approve it by granting a character waiver.


Whilst deciding whether a character waiver will be granted or not, INZ takes into account the historic nature of the event or offending, surrounding circumstances, applicant’s ties to New Zealand and reason for travelling or staying in New Zealand.


The nature of any information falsely provided or withheld during a visa application may also raise character concerns. Whether the person deliberately intended to mislead or withhold information from INZ is also relevant to such assessment.


Medical Wavier


According to INZ instructions, applicants for visas to New Zealand must be able to show they have an acceptable standard of health (ASH). They may be required to undertake a medical examination as part of their application. 


A medical waiver means INZ may still approve your visa application without the acceptable standard of health criteria being met. Whilst INZ considers a medical waiver they will also assess the following information:


  • if you meet the rest of the visa application criteria
  • what support you would need from New Zealand’s health and education services
  • ongoing financial cost to New Zealand in order to support you
  • your potential benefit to New Zealand
  • what family ties do you have in New Zealand
  • length of your stay in New Zealand


Request under section 61 of the Immigration Act 2009


It is your obligation to hold a valid visa at all times whilst visiting or living and working in New Zealand. You are required to leave New Zealand before your visa expires. If a person overstays contrary to his visa conditions and remains unlawfully in New Zealand, one option is to request for a visa ie lawful status under section 61 of the Immigration Act 2009. This is generally a last resort and primarily sought when one has availed all other avenues towards obtaining a visa. However, when a person once served with a Deportation Liability Notice (DLN), they can not make a request under section 61 of the Act.


Immigration New Zealand has absolute discretion and is not bound by specific rules whilst making decision on Section 61 requests. If a request under this section is declined, one has no right to appeal the decision.


Immigration and Protection Tribunal (IPT)


The Immigration and Protection Tribunal (IPT) is an independent judicial body set up under the Ministry of Justice. IPT can review decisions made by Immigration New Zealand (INZ). IPT primarily deals with appeals against residence decisions and removal or deportation from New Zealand. The Tribunal also considers special circumstances or exceptional circumstance of humanitarian nature that is unjust and unduly harsh as well as refugee claims.


If the Tribunal disagrees with INZ’s decision on a resident visa application because of incorrect procedure followed or incorrect application of instructions by INZ or takes into consideration special circumstances, the Tribunal has the authority to reverse the same or recommend a review on INZ’s decision.


There is  a strict time limit of 42 days to file an appeal after receiving a decision from INZ.


Ministerial Intervention


Ordinarily, the Minister of Immigration does not engage in applications for visas received by INZ. The Minister may, however, receive requests for intervention, particularly from those applicants who do not meet INZ policy. The Minister has wide and absolute discretionary powers under the Immigration Act 2009 to do so and receives ample requests for such intervention.


Complaint to the Office of Ombudsman


The Office of the Ombudsman examines complaints from members of the public who believe they have been treated unfairly by a public body. Therefore, the Office of  Ombudsman can investigate complaints about INZ’s administrative conduct under the Ombudsmen Act (OA), and INZ’s decisions on requests for official information under the Official Information Act.


The Ombudsman can investigate decisions made by INZ on temporary entry visa applications including visitor, work, student and limited visas, whether to accept an expression of interest to apply for residence, section 61 and interim visa requests – special directions – the cancellation of temporary entry class visas.


Further, the advice provided by INZ to the Minister or Associate Minister of Immigration also falls under the scope of the Ombudsman’s investigation or complaint process. However, the Ombudsman can’t investigate a Minister’s decision. 


The Ombudsman can also scrutinise administrative procedural issues including procedural issues relating to deportation and the processing of residence and refugee status applications before any decision is made. For example: – refusal to accept an application for lodgement – delay in processing an application – failure to respond to correspondence.