On 11 October 2016, the New Zealand government announced that significant changes to the New Zealand Residency Programme (NZRP) will take effect overnight. Unsurprisingly, there was widespread panic as it affected many people.

Two days after this overnight change in policy was  implemented, we continue to receive a steady stream of questions (not all are TJA clients), as well as other stakeholders, such as employers and recruiters.

Therefore, we have compiled our own “Question and Answers” specific to the changes for Expression of Interests (EOIs) for New Zealand’s Skilled Migrant Category (SMC) only.

Further, we are only including questions that have been asked more than once, addressed to us. This will continue to be updated as we too, have questions of our own that only time will tell.

Q: I already submitted my EOI prior to the changes. Can I get a refund from Immigration New Zealand (INZ) or from my adviser/lawyer?

A: This is by far one of the most asked question to date.  It is also being discussed by immigration practitioners. Our sources confirmed that INZ has instructed applicants who have submitted EOIs prior to the changes announced to proceed with submitting refund forms.

On the other hand, refunds from your own adviser/lawyer is by and large discretionary. If you have submitted full fees (not just for EOI), then it is our opinion that a partial refund should be given to clients, from a moral stand point of view. From a legal perspective, this is outside of anyone’s control and therefore, there are no legal obligations for advisers/lawyers to provide you with a refund.

Q: I have an Invitation to Apply from INZ prior to this change. I have no submitted my application. Will I be affected?
A: No.

Q: I have 160 points or more. Will my EOI still be selected automatically as it would previously with those claiming in excess of 140 points?
A: Yes.

Q: Does the minimum threshold of 100 points to be granted residence after applying change?
A: No

Q: Will the changes be noticeable?
A: Two weeks ago, there were a total of 980 EOIs submitted. Yesterday, that figure was 486. You be the judge.

Q: This is unfair, don't you think so?
 A: We have no comments, as the government is free to implement policies that it sees fit for the country.

However, the method this is done may give rise to concerns. On that note, if you are willing to foot the legal bill, we are more than happy to bring this decision to change overnight to Court. 

This will be done on the basis of a 'judicial review', derived from the common law doctrine of "legitimate expectation". *

* See, eg, New Zealand Association for Migration and Investments Inc v A-G [2006] NZAR 45 at 52

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