It’s just a form, right?

checklistIt’s just a form, right? Queen City Law have published a new immigration law article to the Law Library by Jack Cheng.

He has had vast experience in dealing with a wide range of immigration issues, ranging from routine visa applications to judicial review proceedings. Born in Taiwan and educated in New Zealand, Jack is fluent in both Mandarin and English.To read more about Jack click here.

In this article Jack examines the ways people can make mistakes declaring information to Immigration NZ . Read Jack’s full article as a tablet and print friendly PDF here.

If you have a concern about the forms you are filling out please don’t hesitate to contact us and get our team on your case. Contact Us. To read more articles on Immigration click here.

Jack_-_QCL_ProfileTo many, filling immigration forms could not be more mundane.  Some applicants do it themselves; some have their lawyer or immigration advisor do it and then sign without questioning. Not so fast! You would be amazed how many people get aggrieved by incorrectly filled immigration forms.  Sometimes the glitches are easily fixed, sometimes not. One of the most common mistakes applicants make is not filling out the Character Section correctly, whether due to reluctance/embarrassment or genuine misunderstanding.

Some of the common responses that I have heard are:

  • “I thought it was just a driving case so I didn’t declare it.”
  • “But I got a discharge without conviction!”
  • “It was too long ago and I have forgotten about my Court case. I didn’t mean it.”

Technically none of these answers are good enough. The rule is that you must declare any conviction in any country. Also if you have ever been charged (i.e. appeared in Court for any charge) you must also declare it, regardless of the final outcome of the case (i.e. even if you received diversion or were discharged without conviction).

The rule regarding an Expression of Interest (EOI) is even stricter.  If you declare information that is factually inaccurate, it would be considered misleading. Unless you persuade Immigration New Zealand otherwise, it could lead to a decline of the residence application. Even if it is not strictly your fault (for example, an immigration advisor made a mistake and you didn’t pick it up). The Immigration and Protection Tribunal clearly states that the responsibility ultimately falls on the applicant and it is no good blaming someone else. That’s the bottom line.

A visa application form or an Expression of Interest is a legal document and it is a legal requirement for applicants to make sure that everything recorded on it is true and correct. It is an offence if you knowingly provide false or misleading information.

Our advice is that if you are unsure about any questions in the application form, seek professional advice.  Do not keep information from your lawyer or immigration advisor just because you think it is “bad”.  It’s always better to declare the “bad information” and deal with it than not declaring it at all. On the other hand, if someone else completes the form for you (be that an immigration advisor, lawyer a friend or a member of the family), always double check the information is correct before you sign it.

At QCL, our dedicated immigration lawyers are experienced in guiding you through the application process and identifying any issues before they turn into real problems. For more information on Immigrating to New Zealand and excellent representation of your case; don’t hesitate to contact us.