Procedure and typical processing times for Immigration NZ Police Checks

Ben Smith made this Official Information request to Minister of Immigration

Response to this request is long overdue. By law Minister of Immigration should have responded by now (details and exceptions). You can complain to the Ombudsman.

From: Ben Smith

Dear Minister of Immigration,

I, under the provisions of the Official Information Act 1982, am hereby requesting your answers to the following questions about particular policy, procedures, and practice around police certificates for visas, and in particular, the Post Study Work Visa - Open.

Here is what I am requesting from you:

1) Is an applicant to the Post Study Work Visa - Open required to provide a police certificate for the visa if he or she has provided a police certificate with a previous visa application in the prior 24 months?

2) If, in the intervening period, the applicant reaches the five year threshold of residence for providing a police certificate from New Zealand, does the Exception to the requirement to provide a police certificate based on having submitted a police certificate from another country in the prior 24 months also excuse the applicant from providing a New Zealand police certificate?

3) If the applicant as described in Question (2) does in fact have to provide a NZ police certificate in spite of qualifying for the exception to provide a police certificate on the basis of providing a certificate from another country in the prior 24 months, can you cite the text and particular clause of the relevant legislation or regulation that requires the applicant to provide the certificate?

4) Immigration NZ obtains police certificates from the NZ Police directly on applicants' behalf, where applicable. Could you please provide the average wait time for a police certificate over some indicative period, such as last year, or over the last month? If the information is available, please provide information about current likely waiting times.

5) Please describe all legal methods available by which an applicant can be granted an expedited processing time for Immigration NZ to obtain a police certificate. If some means for expedited processing are only available to some applicants, for example, applicants with a compelling reason to be granted expedited processing time, please indicate the relevant legislation, regulation, policy, or guidelines Immigration NZ uses to decide whether an applicant can be granted expedited processing time.

6) Please indicate the text of the relevant legislation, regulation, or policy that prevents an applicant from going directly to the NZ Police, obtaining the certificate, and providing it to Immigration New Zealand for processing.

Thank you very much for your help at this time.

Yours faithfully,

Ben Smith

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From: M Woodhouse

On behalf of Hon Michael Woodhouse, thank you for your email.

 

Please be assured that all correspondence is read by this office. If your
email falls outside of the Minister’s portfolio responsibilities, or
expresses a personal view, your opinion will be noted and your
correspondence may be transferred to another office or there may be no
further response.

 

Where the Minister has portfolio responsibilities for the issues raised, a
response will be sent to you in due course.

 

Thank you for taking the time to write.

 

Office of Hon Michael Woodhouse 
Parliament Buildings, Wellington | Tel 04 817 6836 |

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From: Ben Smith

Dear Hon M Woodhouse and office,

Thank you very much for your reply. My girlfriend is currently applying for her Post Study Work Visa - Open. She applied as soon as she was able, but the matter is of some urgency for her and she was disappointed and extremely frustrated when she was told that a process that typically takes 23 working days could take months due to a police clearance check that she was told was required. Currently she is unable to work due to her interim visa status, and lack of a full income is causing extreme hardship on her part.

One particularly strange feature of this situation is that Immigration NZ would take a police certificate from the applicant from any country in the world except New Zealand. For NZ the applicant has to go through Immigration NZ, and we are told that police checks through Immigration NZ can take longer than the 20 working days given for police checks requested directly by members of the public about themselves. It seemed absurd that not only will INZ refuse to take a certificate about a NZ police record from New Zealand while they're happy to take a certificate about records from the applicant regarding any other country, their process is also slower than when a member of the public requests a certificate.

Any light you could shed on this unhelpful set of rules would be appreciated.

Yours sincerely,

Ben Smith

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From: M Woodhouse

On behalf of Hon Michael Woodhouse, thank you for your email.

 

Please be assured that all correspondence is read by this office. If your
email falls outside of the Minister’s portfolio responsibilities, or
expresses a personal view, your opinion will be noted and your
correspondence may be transferred to another office or there may be no
further response.

 

Where the Minister has portfolio responsibilities for the issues raised, a
response will be sent to you in due course.

 

Thank you for taking the time to write.

 

Office of Hon Michael Woodhouse 
Parliament Buildings, Wellington | Tel 04 817 6836 |

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From: M Woodhouse

Dear Ben

On behalf of Hon Michael Woodhouse, Minister of Immigration, I acknowledge your request under the Official Information Act 1982 regarding:

1) Is an applicant to the Post Study Work Visa - Open required to provide a police certificate for the visa if he or she has provided a police certificate with a previous visa application in the prior 24 months?

2) If, in the intervening period, the applicant reaches the five year threshold of residence for providing a police certificate from New Zealand, does the Exception to the requirement to provide a police certificate based on having submitted a police certificate from another country in the prior 24 months also excuse the applicant from providing a New Zealand police certificate?

3) If the applicant as described in Question (2) does in fact have to provide a NZ police certificate in spite of qualifying for the exception to provide a police certificate on the basis of providing a certificate from another country in the prior 24 months, can you cite the text and particular clause of the relevant legislation or regulation that requires the applicant to provide the certificate?

4) Immigration NZ obtains police certificates from the NZ Police directly on applicants' behalf, where applicable. Could you please provide the average wait time for a police certificate over some indicative period, such as last year, or over the last month? If the information is available, please provide information about current likely waiting times.

5) Please describe all legal methods available by which an applicant can be granted an expedited processing time for Immigration NZ to obtain a police certificate. If some means for expedited processing are only available to some applicants, for example, applicants with a compelling reason to be granted expedited processing time, please indicate the relevant legislation, regulation, policy, or guidelines Immigration NZ uses to decide whether an applicant can be granted expedited processing time.

6) Please indicate the text of the relevant legislation, regulation, or policy that prevents an applicant from going directly to the NZ Police, obtaining the certificate, and providing it to Immigration New Zealand

Your request was received in this office on 21 April 2017.

The information you have requested is not held by this office, but is likely to be held by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.

Therefore I am transferring your request under section 14(b)(i) of the Official Information Act 1982 to the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment for consideration.

Yours sincerely

Office of Hon Michael Woodhouse │ Minister of Immigration │ Parliament Buildings │ Wellington

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From: Ben Smith

To the office of Hon. Michael Woodhouse,

Thank you very much for your help in transferring it to the appropriate authority! I appreciate your handling this matter promptly.

Yours sincerely,

Ben Smith

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From: M Woodhouse

On behalf of Hon Michael Woodhouse, thank you for your email.

 

Please be assured that all correspondence is read by this office. If your
email falls outside of the Minister’s portfolio responsibilities, or
expresses a personal view, your opinion will be noted and your
correspondence may be transferred to another office or there may be no
further response.

 

Where the Minister has portfolio responsibilities for the issues raised, a
response will be sent to you in due course.

 

Thank you for taking the time to write.

 

Office of Hon Michael Woodhouse 
Parliament Buildings, Wellington | Tel 04 817 6836 |

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