This article is about Immigration Policy but is not a description of policy.


Non – New Zealanders can gain residence of New Zealand on the basis of their relationship with a New Zealand partner. 

But what seems like a simple and obvious policy is not always straightforward.

Approval is based on an assessment by Immigration New Zealand of whether the relationship is “genuine and stable” and whether the partners have been “living together” for 12 months or more at the time the residence application was lodged and decided. The presence or otherwise of a legal marriage is not a deciding factor, on its own.

The rules apply to both straight and gay couples.

With such subjective criteria and a wide variety of customs in different cultures and religions, it is not surprising that this policy has been used in the past by some people - to gain an unfair advantage or that Immigration New Zealand has developed complex strategies to defeat such frauds!

Even the most genuine and straightforward partnerships can find themselves subject to a very intrusive set of requirements. While you may know that your relationship is “genuine” and “stable”, how do you “prove” that to a suspicious third party; how do you prove how long you have lived together; what if a couple has travelled, or spent some time apart?

Health and character requirements apply and there is a limit on how many times a New Zealander can sponsor a partner.

Historical actions (or lack of action) by applicants, that were innocent at the time, can create serious problems in the context of an Immigration New Zealand assessment.

All this is complicated by the emotions involved when a relationship is placed under a microscope by a third party and when children are involved.

Even the most straightforward cases should talk to Malcolm Pacific Immigration from the very beginning.