Tribunal overturns rejection of residency, says Immigration NZ decisions must be fair and just

    Kuo fulihi ‘e he Tulaipiunolo ‘a e ‘Imikuleisoni Nu’u Sila ha tu’utu’uni ‘a e ‘Imikuleisini’ ‘o faka’ikai’i ha kole pepa nofo fonua ‘a ha tangata Tonga ‘i he katekoli ki he Fāmili’ pe Ma’uhoa’. Na’e ‘ikai tali ‘a e kole ko ‘eni’ ‘e he ‘Imikuleisini Nu’u Sila ko e ‘ikai ke ne fiemālie ki he ngaahi fakamo’oni ne fakahū ange ‘e he tangata’ ni ke fakamo’oni na’a’ na kei nofo lelei mo fakamo’omo’oni pe mo hono hoa' ‘a ia ne fanau’i ia ‘i Nu’u Sila’ ni. Pehē ‘e he Tulaipiunolo ne ‘ikai fea hono hanga ‘e he ‘Imikuleisini’ ‘o vakai’i e ngaahi fakamo’oni ko ‘eni' pea kuo’ ne tu’utu’uni ai ke toe fai hano vakai’i fakalelei pea ke toki makatu’unga ai pe ‘e ‘oange ha’ane pepa pe ‘ikai.

    The New Zealand Immigration Tribunal has overturned a decision by Immigration New Zealand to deny a Tongan man residency under the Family (Partnership) category.

    The application was declined because Immigration New Zealand was not satisfied that the appellant had provided sufficient verifiable evidence to show that they were living together in a genuine and stable relationship.

    He and his Tongan-born New Zealand-citizen wife were married in 2016. Their first child was born in 2017.

    In its report on the case the Tribunal said the main issue was whether Immigration New Zealand properly and fairly assessed the information provided by the appellant and his wife.

    The Tribunal said the decision to decline the application was incorrect.

    It said Immigration New Zealand failed to consider all relevant evidence and over-emphasised the absence of certain documents, to the exclusion of others.

    “In circumstances where there was substantial evidence that the appellant and his  wife were a genuine couple and living together, including evidence from the wife’s family with whom they had been living for a year, a joint tenancy agreement covering the period they lived elsewhere and the birth of their first child, any  doubts should have been explored by way of interview,” the report said.

    It said an interview should have been conducted if Immigration New Zealand was not satisfied that a couple were living together in a stable and genuine relationship.

    The Tribunal said that considered together, the evidence provided by the appellant and his wife overwhelmingly suggested) that the couple were living together.

    It said Immigration New Zealand must comply with the requirements of fairness and natural justice when making decisions.

    Immigration New Zealand’s decision was cancelled and the application returned to Immigration New Zealand for a correct assessment.

    The Tribunal ordered that the application be reassessed by an Immigration New Zealand officer not previously associated with the application.

    The Tribunal said that before making a final decision, Immigration New Zealand must ensure that all the available evidence must be properly weighed and balanced.

    However, the Tribunal also warned there was no guarantee that a re-assessment of the application would be successful.

    The main points

    • The New Zealand Immigration Board has overturned a decision by Immigration New Zealand to deny a Tongan man residency under the Family (Partnership) category.
    • The application was declined because Immigration New Zealand was not satisfied that the appellant had provided sufficient verifiable evidence to show that they were living together in a genuine and stable relationship.

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