New Zealand: Refund Program for Unassessed Skilled Residence Class Visa Applications

April 30, 2021

Overview

The government of New Zealand released the following statement on April 28, 2021:  

“Between 1 July 2018 and 23 February 2020 (inclusive), Immigration New Zealand (INZ) allocated skilled residence class visa applications (under the Skilled Migrant Category (SMC), and the Residence from Work (RfW) Category) in accordance with an informal priority criteria. The Ombudsman has deemed this to be unreasonable.” – Immigration New Zealand  

Immigration New Zealand updated criteria for skilled residence visa applications on February 24, 2020. These criteria updates invalidate skilled residence applications filed between July 1, 2018 and February 23, 2020. As a consolation, the government will refund disadvantaged skilled visa applicants.

Foreign nationals are eligible for a refund if:

  • The RFW/SMC application was filed between July 1, 2018 and February 23, 2020 (inclusive), and;
  • That application was not sent to an Immigration Officer by the date the refund/withdrawal is requested; or,
  • That application was sent to an Immigration Officer by the date the refund/withdrawal is requested but was never evaluated.

If interested in learning more about requesting a refund, you may visit this link.

Key Points

  • Immigration New Zealand has discovered inconsistencies in application criteria for skilled residence class visas (Skilled Migrant Category).
  • This discrepancy impacts applicants who submitted materials between July 1, 2018 and February 23, 2020 (inclusive) but have not received final decisions. The government declares eligibility criteria from this period obsolete.
  • To accommodate this error, Immigration New Zealand recommends refunding applicants who submitted materials between July 1, 2018 and February 23, 2020 (inclusive).

 What Are the Changes?

Immigration New Zealand discovered criteria discrepancies for skilled residence class visa applications (Category SMC).  The updated criteria have been valid since February 24, 2020. The government is currently making an effort to rectify the damages caused by these inconsistencies by offering refunds to applicants.

Looking Ahead 

Immigration New Zealand hopes to avoid inconsistencies and criteria discrepancies in the future. As a precaution, employers with New Zealand-bound talent should review existing skilled residence class visa applications.

Content in this publication is not intended as legal advice, nor should it be relied on as such. For additional information on the issues discussed, consult an Envoy-affiliated attorney or another qualified professional.

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