Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse told us during his visit to our office on February 24, 2017 that Immigration New Zealand (INZ) issues more than one million visas of various types.
“It is possible that sometimes they may get ‘it wrong,’ but there are processes in place to redress grievances and ensure that those who are not in the wrong do not suffer. We are known for our fairness throughout the world,” he had said.
That may not be a statement of fact, for, occasionally, we hear of people who claim to be victims of wrong decisions, not because of their non-compliance of the rules in force but because of the lapses in the official system and the refusal of the officials concerned to rectify them.
We have had a complaint from an elderly couple, now forced to stay back in India, after having been granted Permanent Residence (PR), which was revoked because INZ did not communicate an important part of their requirement.
Dr Ram Chander Dahiya and his wife Savitri are a retired couple, who want to live their son Praveen in Auckland but cannot do so because INZ, they allege, bungled in the application process. The Immigration & Protection Tribunal (IPT) was equally unhelpful and to make matters worse, the High Court declined their petition to reverse the decisions of the two agencies.
The Court also asked the couple to pay $6738.50 in costs.
The case explained
The following is the edited version of a 15-page report that Dr Dahiya sent us, followed by a Summary of facts, which follows here in its edited format.
We were granted Resident Visas (RVs) in 2010 along with the explanatory letter (Visa Approval Letter) explaining the conditions, which we fulfilled, spending 184 days two times in two consecutive years during 2010-2012 to become eligible for our Permanent Resident Visas (PRVs).
However, we were instead granted Subsequent or Second Resident Visas (SRVs) in 2012. No statutorily required explanatory letter (Visa Approval Letter) was issued and hence we believed these to be PRVs.
My passport expired in 2015 and I applied for visa transfer to my new passport but INZ Delhi advised me that our present resident visas had expired. An official guided us to fill another form. But INZ cancelled our application for SRVs. The reason was that INZ counted the 184 days backwards and said that we fell short of the requirement in the second year.
This happened because INZ did not issue the statutorily required Visa Approval Letter in 2012 when we were granted SRVs, although we had applied for PRV after fulfilling our statutory obligations of spending more than 184 days two times in two consecutive years during 2010-2012.
Had we been issued the statutorily required explanatory letter in 2012, we would have surely fulfilled the conditions under any circumstance as we did in 2010 when we were granted the Resident Visas for the first time.
Thus, administrative inefficiency on the part of the INZ is solely responsible for this lapse, whereas we have been punished in the cancellation of our visas. This disproportionate award cannot be called justice in any way.
As advised by INZ, we approached the IPT, which regretted the non-issuance of the Visa Approval Letter but upheld the cancellation of our visas contributing further to the injustice and discrimination.
We petitioned the High Court in Auckland, which also upheld the cancellation of our Resident Visas. The Court said, “The starting point is the correctness of the premise upon which Mr Dahiya’s argument is based. Although the Tribunal said it was ‘regrettable’ that Immigration New Zealand did not advise Mr Dahiya and his wife of the true position, there is no statutory provision requiring Immigration New Zealand to provide visa holders with separate advice regarding the nature of their visas and the terms and conditions upon which they have been issued.”
The trial transcript is an eye-opener showing how the judiciary works in New Zealand as there are no appropriate references to the things in the transcript which appear in his decision.
We are yet to get till date that very original Audio-Video recording from the High Court Judge even after numerous requests and reminders.
Dr R C Dahiya and his wife Savitri have listed the following as their grievances.
- INZ not issuing the Visa Approval Letter (Explanatory Letter) in 2012, a major comment of the Department. It just excused itself with a mere ‘letter of regret.’ This is insufficient and highly prejudiced.
- The Court ruling against our appeal and imposing costs
- Why is that the issue is being considered as ‘not of public importance’ when we are also the people, as a part of the public who have suffered?
- We must be allowed to live with our son and his family through the revival of our cancelled resident visas.
- The costs imposed on us by the Courts be withdrawn as these contravene the statutory provisions and symbolise gross injustice.
- Appropriate compensation for the trauma, harassment and discrimination and impairment of our right to justice
- A thorough investigation of the lapses