Do you have a dissatisfaction or grievance with the services offered by INZ (Immigration New Zealand)? You can raise a formal complaint in INZ’s CFS (Complaints and Feedback System) to get a response to it. Your complaint may be related to things such as staff behaviour, services offered, products, tools and administrative processes being used by INZ to serve its customers.
Does Immigration New Zealand respond to all Complaints?
Yes, they do – if your formal complaint is accepted. Keep reading, and you will find out this is a big “if”!
MBIE (Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment) is the umbrella under which Immigration New Zealand operates. The ministry has a well-publicized complaints process where they promise to acknowledge the complaint within 5 working days and provide a response within 20 working days.
Immigration New Zealand too strives to provide immigration customers and the general public with an easy-to-use accessible complaints process – this process can be used to submit negative and positive feedback related to the policies, procedures and services of Immigration New Zealand.
CFS takes your complaint and channels it to the CFT (Central Feedback Team). It is CFT’s job to log, triage and assign your complaint for processing to the suitable INZ branch or office – typically, the complaint is handed over to the location where the issue surfaced.
How long does it take to elicit a response from INZ on a formal complaint?
The times may vary based on the nature of the complaint – for instance, complaints made against a visa application centre may take longer if the facility is in other countries or if the case needs to be handed to other agencies for examination (CFT will accept your complaint in such cases and transfer it to an appropriate branch of the government). INZ, however, indicates that you can expect a response in 25 days for complaints regarding their services and processes.
Does Immigration New Zealand have to accept your complaint?
No, they don’t.
Immigration New Zealand may choose to reject your complaint due to various reasons.
Complaints that question the “merits” of any decision made by INZ for a given case will be rejected by the CFS. For instance, CFS will not accept complaints that question:
- The process adopted to interpret immigration instructions while deciding on a case
- The balancing and weighing of case related factors by the immigration officer when reaching a decision
- Fairness of a decision concerning how it impacts the applicant or his/her family members.
INZ will also not entertain any complaints related to cases where the customer has already executed his/her right of reconsideration or appeal. Additionally, CFS will reject all complaints that request overturning a decision related to an application or compliance.
How much time do you have to raise a complaint?
You must submit any service delivery related complaints within 6 months of the incident – the only exception is when you are complaining about some delay. CFT/INZ may choose to make an exception (for instance, in extenuating situations) and pick your complaint after 6 months, but this is rare.
If Immigration New Zealand decides to reject your complaint, they will inform you why they are not accepting your request, typically within 3 days. They may also sometimes offer you suggestions on how to pursue the matter.
As you can see, there are many reasons why CFT may not accept your request. You should raise your complaint in consultation with an immigration expert who is experienced with the complaints process, such as Auckland based Professional Visa Solutions. Contact us for a 100% free consultation to discuss your complaint and increase the chance of eliciting a response from Immigration New Zealand.
What kind of complaints are entertained by Immigration New Zealand?
It may sometimes get problematic to figure out if Immigration New Zealand will accept your complaint and work on it.
Here are some problem areas covered by complaints that do usually get accepted by the CFT:
- Systems and facilities adopted by Immigration New Zealand
- Matter published as part of IACs (Internal Administrative Circulars) and miscellaneous immigration directives
- Problems with services offered by INZ – for instance, staff attitude or behaviour, delays in processing visa applications and advice or communication from Immigration New Zealand
- Concerns related to a process adopted by the INZ – these may either be connected to a verdict handed down by INZ or other related issues
Again, this list does is not complete and does not guarantee that CFS will accept your complaint. It takes a trained and experienced mind to know if your complaint will make it into the system.
The good thing is that there is a well-defined process to register your complaint about your grievances against Immigration New Zealand, but it comes with a high rate of rejection. Your well-meaning complaint may get rejected right at the gate.