Partner visa gets complicated

There has been recent media attention due to the high decline rate of partner visas.

At the centre of the dispute was the enforcement of the rules that culturally arranged marriages taking place overseas didn’t meet New Zealand’s visa rules because couples were not “living together” which is a fundamental requirement to qualify for a partner visa.

The outcome was newlywed couples, who traditionally do not live together before marriage, were being forced to live in different countries for undetermined times.

We salute our friends in the Indian community for standing up for cultural rights that have been part of the fabric of New Zealand society for many years.

As a result, there has been a November update to the rules that a visitor visa can now be granted to individuals who are in a culturally arranged marriage, regardless of where that marriage ceremony took place. Immigration NZ has also issued new guidance to unmarried couples in a genuine relationship. If they are also not living together at the time of applying for a visa a potential pathway for them to reunite in New Zealand may now be open. There will still be a requirement to document a genuine relationship and attend interviews.

On the face of it applying for a visa to join a partner in New Zealand seems straightforward but it never is. Always best to take professional advice.

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