We need your funds to back what is in effect a Class Action that impacts thousands of partners of those living in New Zealand.
Partners/Families have been separated as a result of New Zealand's border closure for on average 18-24 months. Many have been separated for much longer due to partnership visa declines throughout 2019.
This situation was recently made worse by Immigration NZ making two decisions:
1) to lapse @ 50,000 General Visitor Visas including those lodged by Partners who cannot live together off-shore and
2) to suspend the ability to make fresh visa applications until at least February 2022.
These decisions are causing heightened distress among the impacted community.
Judicial Review proceedings have been filed by D&S Law in the High Court challenging these two decisions.
The grounds are:
a) that Immigration NZ failed to adequately take into account the international legal human rights obligations that give special protection to the family unit and
b) has discriminated against those partners unable to live together off-shore for reasons including religion, culture, sex or sexual orientation.
The case is not just about one individual. It impacts a whole class of partners (and their children) stranded overseas. It impacts those temporary visa holders whose partners are stuck off-shore unable to apply for partnership visas.
It impacts all partners (of temporary migrants or New Zealanders) who cannot meet the "living together" requirements for partnership.
Many couples cannot live together before both partners enter New Zealand due to their ethnic, and religious backgrounds or as a result of cultural and religious traditions. It is also not possible for many of those who identify as part of the LGBTIQ+ community as many countries do not permit LGBTIQ+ partnerships much less allow them to live together
In November 2019, INZ issued advice stating where the partner is aware they do not meet the living together requirement, they may apply for a General Visitor Visa (GVV) instead of a partnership-based visa.
Due to the suspension of visitor visa processing offshore partners who have not lived together with their New Zealand-based partner are not able to make a visa application to join their partner. The lapsing of visas also means that applications from outside NZ which includes GVV applications by partners of New Zealanders and migrants will be lapsed or returned and refunded.
Even though the application fee will be refunded, applicants will be disadvantaged as they will lose their place in the queue. Any costs for medicals, police clearances, and other fees may not be recovered and may need to be paid again on any new application.
This therefore affects:
> Partners of New Zealand citizens and residents
> Partners of temporary visa holders
> Dependent children of temporary visa holders
Timeframes: Proceedings were file on 21 July. It usually takes 1 month for hearing dates to be set; 4 months for a hearing; 5 months for a decision.
Costs include court filing fees, legal fees and any costs awarded by the court. If the case does not proceed to full hearing through agreement with the Minister of Immigration or if excess funds are raised no refunds will be made. Instead, monies will be applied to further group immigration legal action or donated to the Red Cross/Belong Aotearoa.