A person is deemed to be unlawfully in New Zealand if their temporary visa has expired or been cancelled, or, their resident visa has been cancelled. A person is considered to be unlawful on the day after the temporary visa expiry date stated on their visa.

If you have overstayed your temporary visa whilst in New Zealand, no matter length of expiry or for whatever reason, we are able to assist you in making things right by seeking the grant of a visa for you. This will alleviate the worry associated with such aspects as arrest by authorities, deportation, enduring separation from family here and working illegally.

Our team of experienced Immigration Advisers at Professional Visa Solutions has a knack for presenting situations for the greatest chance of success.

We know how stressful the uncertainty of not holding a valid visa can be. Through an initial consultation with us, we will listen to you explain your situation with genuine interest, then we will derive the best course of action to take.

It can be very costly to address your immigration situation where authorities enforce legal action against those who overstay. It is worthwhile in this respect to seek our professional assistance before it comes to this.

We also know that the COVID-19 situation has impacted visas. Short-term concessions have been made for certain visa types although a person should not rely on this as solution to their visa validity. It is risky to await such concessions particularly if your visa is due to expire in coming weeks. It is better to address your visa situation early, before expiry, and our team of experts are happy to guide you in your options via a free consultation.

Media articles during these COVID-19 impacted times seem to validate a person’s decision to overstay their visa due to inability to depart New Zealand prior to expiry. This trivialises the seriousness of remaining in New Zealand unlawfully. Our Advisers understand the difficulties migrants are facing and the limited options and encourage anyone considering remaining in New Zealand unlawfully to discuss their situation with us at the soonest. There may be options available which you are not aware of.

How to Remedy Your Visa Status

If your visa does unfortunately expire and you wish to address this issue to seek lawful continued stay in New Zealand, a request for a visa needs to be made under a special section of the Immigration Act 2009, called Section 61. This section allows for a person to seek the grant of a visa of any type through presenting to Immigration New Zealandin the first instance a request for a visa expressing particularly their reasons for remaining unlawfully in New Zealand following visa expiry and their special circumstances rendering it reasonable for a request to be granted.

Reasons for expiry are wide and varied, as are a persons’ circumstances. No two situations are the same and any consideration of a request made is done on a case-by-case basis. An Immigration Officer with high authority will usually be assigned to consider the presented case and make a decision with absolute discretion applied. The Minister of Immigration is also able to consider such requests although it is recommended to approach Immigration New Zealand initially.

Having absolute discretion means the decision maker is not obligated to give reasons for any decision made nor are they required to use the legal principles of fairness and natural justice in reaching their decision. Due to these reasons, we Advisers as industry professional are not able to give any assurances or guarantees as to the outcome of any case presented to Immigration New Zealand made under Section 61, but an Adviser’s experience in such matters will certainly allow for the best case possible to be presented.

Subsequent requests are able to be made, although we recommended a strong and encompassing case is presented in the first instance.

How Are Requests for a Visa Determined by Officials?

The decision maker will make one of three decisions:

  • Refuse to consider the request: This simply means that at first glance, they do not consider there could be merit given to the matter.  In order to avoid this occurring, it is important to present the case in such a way that it grabs the decision-maker’s attention in order to gain further consideration to matters.  This is where an experienced Immigration representative is most useful.
  • Refuse to grant the request:  This means that an Officer has seen merit to matters presented, delved deeper into the situation through considering the submissions made but does not feel the grant of a visa is warranted in this instance.
  • Grant the request:  This is obviously the best outcome.  The decision maker can decide in their absolute discretion to grant the type of visa requested for any length of time with any conditions, or, grant a visa of any other type as they see fit.  This could include the grant of Residence regardless of whether a temporary visa or residence visa were requested.

The decision maker may request further information in order to fully determine matters if willing to consider the request. Only a favourable decision attracts a fee imposed by Immigration New Zealand. All requests must be made in hard-copy form, not via online submission. There is no set timeframe for Immigration New Zealand to consider a request, although from our experiences in more recent times, decisions are made within a matter of weeks.

Anyone in New Zealand unlawfully can make a request under Section 61, and dependent family members are able to be included under certain circumstances. However, if any person is under official deportation proceedings (having been served a Deportation Liability Notice and subsequent Deportation Order) then a request under Section 61 is not able to be made and other avenues need to be pursued. No protection from deportation is awarded whilst a person awaits the outcome of a request made under Section 61, although from our experience there is less likelihood of deportation being acted upon by officials until a decision is made on a request.

What Factors Will Be Taken Into Consideration?

The decision maker will likely consider, among other things, the following:

  • The person’s previous immigration history
  • The person’s current situation (do circumstances render it reasonable to consider granting the request);  this includes any reasons for requesting lawful stay in New Zealand, the length of time the person has been unlawful, reasons for visa stay beyond validity of visa, any reasons for visa expiry which were beyond a person’s control, health and character matters
  • Whether a person brings benefit to New Zealand has a potential pathway toward residence
  • Whether a person is well-established in New Zealand with strong family ties and what ties the person has outside New Zealand
  • Any public interest, security risk and international obligation considerations

I Am Worried, What Should I Do?

Seek assistance from industry professionals: It is not wise to rely on what you generally hear from others or read in the media.  The experienced team of Advisers at Professional Visa Solutions are best-suited to handle your situation.  We know exactly what information is needed and more, particular to your individual situation.

We strongly encourage anyone concerned about visa expiry to speak with us. You will find your anxieties and stresses can be alleviated through our great advice. So why wait? Contact us today!