Queen City Law Consultant Jack Cheng and Legal Executive Hazel Dillon discuss how to prepare “decision ready” partnership-based visa applications which Immigration New Zealand would consider “low touch”. To hear more on immigration law, Jack will present a seminar on the topic Dealing with Clients with Character Issues at the Immigration Law Update Conference on 14 June.
Queen City Law recently attended a workshop with Immigration New Zealand (“INZ”) in regards to preparing and submitting “decision ready” visa applications under the partnership-based categories. The workshop was held in INZ’s Hamilton branch which primarily deals with on-shore partnership-based visa applications. Off-shore applications are reviewed by branches in Manila, Mumbai and New Delhi to name a few.
During this workshop discussions were held between key members of the Hamilton branch on how to prepare an application under the partnership category to the highest quality. A high quality application, known as a “low touch” application, is one that provides INZ with a complete picture of the relationship between the applicant and their supporting partner. In contrast, a “high touch” application is on the opposite end of the scale and requires a significant inspection by INZ to determine whether or not the relationship meets Immigration Instructions. It is viewed that applications received from law firms and advisors should 90% of the time be a low touch application of high quality.
One way to compare a low to a high touch application is to think of them as different styles of art. A high touch application can be viewed as a surrealist painting such as “The Persistence of Memory” by Salvador Dali. Looking at the painting you can see a picture and identify objects within it, but you are left with questions wondering what are you looking at, what do the objects mean and how do they fit together? The same can be said for high touch applications. INZ may be able to see that there is a relationship but is it genuine and stable? Does it accurately represent the relationship and are all the details truthful?
By comparison, a low touch application could be considered to be an impressionist painting such as the “Water Lilies series” by Claude Monet – all of the paintings are just what they appear. No deeper meaning needs to be sought and hardly any questions are raised. INZ does not need to correspond with the advisor to ascertain further details of the application in much the same way that viewers of the “Water Lilies series” does not need to seek clarification as to the meaning of the paintings. Everything that is needed is right there in front of them.
The key take-away from this workshop was that the best way to prepare an application was to provide INZ with all the details of a relationship upfront and in detail. Sounds simple? It is in fact more complicated than it first appears and it is worth noting that approximately 60% of partnership-based applications that are received are not “decision ready”. Sixty percent of applications received are high touch, leaving only 40% of applications received by INZ to be low touch “decision ready” applications.
Another key topic that was discussed was the purpose of partnership-based visa categories. This category is in place so that existing relationships between a NZ supporting partner and an applicant can be maintained and essentially grow. The category is not intended for people to “test” a relationship that developed, for example, over social media. An application under the partnership category is not a tool to enable people to travel to New Zealand to meet and live with someone that they met online and have been messaging for the past couple of months. A partnership-based application can only be used for those people that are already in a relationship and can demonstrate that they have been living together in a shared residence.
Jack Cheng is the new member of an already formidable team at Queen City Law. He completed his LLB at the University of Auckland in 1998 and was admitted as a Barrister and Solicitor of the High Court of New Zealand shortly after. He subsequently completed a BCom in 2000. Jack commenced his legal career as a junior barrister in 2000 and has been practising as a Barrister Sole since 2002. In the past 5 years Jack has worked as a barrister at one of the most prestigious barristers chambers in Auckland. Over the years Jack has accumulated considerable experience in the field of criminal law. He frequently appears in the District Court and High Court criminal jurisdiction as lead or second counsel. He has also appeared in some of the most high profile and serious criminal Trials in New Zealand. Aside from criminal law, Jack also specialises in immigration law. He has had vast experience in dealing with a wide range of immigration issues, ranging from routine visa applications to appeal/judicial review proceedings. Born in Taiwan and educated in New Zealand, Jack is fluent in both Mandarin and English. His litigation and language skills give him a distinct advantage in his legal practice and will continue to serve QCL well. Connect with Jack via LinkedIn .
Legal Executive Hazel Dillon supports the QCL Immigration Team. She has been with Queen City Law since 2013. Hazel has previous experience in legal firms as a Legal Secretary dealing with Estate Law, Conveyancing and Litigation. Hazel enjoys being an integral part of the team and organizing the daily routine to make sure that all runs smoothly from start to finish. Hazel does her best to ensure that client’s queries are answered promptly and efficiently. Contact Hazel at email@example.com