Time Extension Woes
Posted: 24 July 2014
As far as immigration law and policy goes, asking Immigration New Zealand to give you more time to respond to requests for information is about as mundane and basic as it gets. But what happens when you ask, and you do not receive?
Yesterday, we received urgent instructions to assist an individual with a crisis. The client had received a PPI letter (that means it has harmful information contained within that is likely to result in the decline of the application) and it had been left to the very last minute. No problem, Latitude Consultants engaged.
Here is a copy of an email that Latitude Consultants sent to Immigration New Zealand (INZ) yesterday evening (redacted for obvious reasons):
Preliminary Assessment Service
Want to know your options?
Has your application been declined?
Have you received a letter from Immigration New Zealand?
So far so good. A request for a 2-week extension is generally granted unless there were some urgency involved, which in this case, there was not.
Within a few hours, we receive this email in response from INZ:
Did you catch the important part?
That's right. An extension was granted from 24 July 2014 (being a Thursday) to 28 July 2014 (being a Monday). A solid 2 working day extension. This seemed to be an indulgence too. No further extensions would be granted beyond the 2 working day extension.
We responded as follows (sorry, most of it is sensitive information and had to be redacted):
Here's a general rule of thumb. Whenever there is some form of oppressive behaviour or unreasonableness from INZ, it must be remembered that the rules relating to fairness and natural justice apply to INZ.
This isn't just some airy fairy notion of fairness and justice. The INZ Operational Manual specifically provides for circumstances where these concepts apply, one of which is giving an applicant a reasonable period of time to respond to harmful information (if you're interested, look at the administration policy at A1).
What is reasonable is always going to be up for debate, but in extreme circumstances like this (2 working day extension), the answer should be clear.
To INZ's credit, within less than an hour, we receive this response:
While the extension provided is not lengthy, it does illustrate how INZ often forget about the rules of fairness and natural justice, and instead focus upon administrative convenience (such as streamlining and making sure applications are dealt within certain timeframes and guidelines set internally).
It also illustrates INZ's positive tendency to adjust their stance, if they receive constructive feedback based.
Have you had any trouble dealing with INZ lately? Contact us and give us your feedback.