The immigration department of New Zealand have decided to clamp down on the number of visitor and work visas they issue out.The move comes as the number of people arriving on such visas, who then claim refugee or protected person status, continues to rise. People claiming refugee status has risen by 60 percent in five years – from 287 in 2013/14 to 470 in 2017/18.

Andrew Lockhart of Immigration New Zealand stated that about 95 percent of people who claim refugee status are already living in New Zealand on a visitors or other work visas when they make their claim. The department has said that the rising number has increased the processing times meaning genuine asylum seekers are spending longer waiting in uncertainty. Those who are not genuine are then able to stay in New Zealand calming benefits, working and being able to access public funded health and education.

Immigration New Zealand is asking for another $3.7 million to speed up the processing. Regardless of whether it’s a false claim, every claim is determined its own merits and case so each one has to be looked at.

There also has been many cases where individuals have been denied visitor visas for their family members.



However the increase of refugees doesn’t seem to be the only reason why New Zealand is denying visit visas. A bride-to-be says her wedding plans are in tatters after her sister and bridesmaid was denied a visa to come to New Zealand. Bahareh Safamanesh who moved from Iran seven years is ago is due to marry her Kiwi born fiancé in February and invites her sister over to help her with wedding preparations.

“It is my big day and I don’t have any family here so I asked my sister to be my bridesmaid, and also to come help with organising the wedding ceremony and party,” Safamanesh said.

“We’re all shocked that Immigration NZ says this is not our true intention, and that they do not consider my sister to be a genuine visitor.”

immigration New Zealand said her sisters application was denied because of concerns that she was not a bona fide visitor to New Zealand. This decision has left Baharah and her sister confused as she has previously visited New Zealand on a visitor visa without any issues.


In another case an 80 year old South Korean great grandmother Chang was deported as Immigration New Zealand said she was too sick to visit her daughter. Her daughter was immensely upset and has called the agency’s treatment of her mother cruel and inhumane.

Her great grandmother was detained overnight and Auckland Airport as soon as she arrived, she was stopped from taking a connecting flight to Wellington and was told she needs to have acceptable health to be allowed in to New Zealand.

Chang has previously visited several times and has stayed for a maximum of three months in New Zealand.  National border manager Stephanie Greathead said she did not meet the conditions for entry

“She did not hold an outward ticket to depart New Zealand and INZ held information to suggest that she was not of an acceptable standard of health for temporary entry,” Greathead said.