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DECEMBER 2013

Visas Can Be Revoked

When criminal law and family law matters impact on your immigration status

A person who is not a New Zealand resident or citizen is required to hold a visa in order to be able to stay in New Zealand to visit, work or study. And even when a person has been granted a visa and is legally in New Zealand there is the potential of that visa being revoked. Basically nothing is set in stone in life and in terms of immigration law, things change constantly, whether they are immigration policies or personal circumstances.

Everybody is aware (or ought to be aware) that their visa can be revoked if the conditions of the visa are not complied with (for example: when the person is not studying at the educational provider indicated in the application). Another simple scenario when the visa can be revoked is when the sponsor withdraws support.

Criminal and Family situations

There are particular situations that seemingly have nothing to do with the Immigration Service. A person can be stopped by the police for speeding or drink driving. They can be involved in a bar fight and the police are called. One can have an argument with their partner over children. The police deal with infringements and offences and people appear in court once charged. Family matters are dealt in the Family Court and police might be involved if there are allegations of violence.

Why immigration laws and policies matter in such situations?

A visa can be revoked if the holder is charged with an infringement or offence. The Immigration Service can serve visa holders with deportation liability notices if they are charged (not convicted) with an offence. The good character requirement must be met in order to obtain and then hold on to a visa. Basically the immigration requirements must be met at all times.

Holders of temporary visas can have their visas revoked if they no longer meet the character requirements so it is very important that you let your family or criminal lawyer know of your immigration status. How your immigration status might be affected by your conviction is a relevant factor that will be taken into account by the judge when they sentence you because the consequences of such a conviction might significantly overweigh the gravity of your offending.

A conviction, while it might not result in your visa being revoked it might still impact on your residence application, which can be declined. The Immigration Service uses different criteria to grant temporary and residence visas and while you might qualify for a temporary visa it must not be assumed that an application for a character waiver will be granted and your residence approved.

Family Court Orders

Parenting orders and restraining orders made in the Family Court will also raise concerns with the Immigration Service in terms of your character or even genuineness of your relationship with your partner and this might impact on your immigration status, or, if you have New Zealand residence, they will impact on your ability to sponsor.

Loss of permanent immigration status

Resident visa holders might lose their permanent immigration status if they commit serious offences and even be deported or they might be ineligible for New Zealand citizenship.

Conclusions

Let this be a warning – the immigration laws and policies are here to be observed and adhered to. So if anything goes wrong, seek our advice as a matter of urgency.