The Dangers of Faking it in a Visa Application

Do you have have something you do not want INZ to know about, for example a criminal conviction or a health condition? If so, you may feel tempted not to tell INZ about this, or to be dishonest when answering a question on an INZ application form. You may feel that if INZ does not know about something that would negatively affect your Visa application, this would be to your advantage.

If you are considering being dishonest with INZ, you must think again. There is a significant risk INZ will find out you have been dishonest and if they do, the consequences will be serious. INZ usually requires Visa applicants to provide Police Certificates from countries of citizenship and which they have lived in, and also to complete a formal Medical examination through an approved Doctor, which means that if you do have a criminal conviction or health condition, INZ will probably find out.

If you have a criminal conviction or a health condition that you are concerned may affect your Visa application, it is better to seek professional advice to see how this can be managed. In many cases, an Immigration Adviser or Lawyer can provide a solution to your problem which sees your Visa approved and which does not involve any form of dishonesty. Remember, Immigration Advisers are bound by the Licensed Immigration Advisers Code of Conduct, and Lawyers by rules of the New Zealand Law Society, which require them to keep anything you tell them confidential.

What happens if I am dishonest with Immigration New Zealand when applying for a Visa?

To put it briefly, your Visa application may be declined and you may never be approved a Visa for New Zealand again.

If you are applying for a Temporary Visa and INZ determines that you have provided false or misleading information, or have withheld material information, at any time when applying for a Visa, a character waiver assessment will be carried out. An immigration officer is required to consider the following [italics added]:

  • the significance of the false, misleading or forged information provided, or information withheld, and whether the applicant is able to supply a reasonable and credible explanation or other evidence indicating that in supplying or withholding such information they did not intend to deceive INZ;
  • whether the applicant’s reason for travel to New Zealand, and any surrounding circumstances, are compelling enough to justify making an exception to the character requirement, taking into account the public interest; and
  • record reasons for deciding whether to waive or decline to waive the good character requirements; and
  • if the immigration officer decides to decline the application, they raise an ‘Alert’ against the applicant on the INZ computer system

If you are applying for a Residence Visa and INZ determines that you have provided false or misleading information, or have withheld material information, at any time when applying for a Visa, a character waiver assessment will also be carried out. An immigration officer is required to consider the following;

  • the significance of the false, misleading or forged information provided, or information withheld, and whether the applicant is able to supply a reasonable and credible explanation or other evidence indicating that in supplying or withholding such information they did not intend to deceive INZ;
  • how long ago the relevant event occurred;
  • whether the applicant has any immediate family lawfully and permanently in New Zealand;
  • whether the applicant has some strong emotional or physical tie to New Zealand;
  • whether the applicant’s potential contribution to New Zealand will be significant.

In our experience, if INZ establishes that an applicant has lied to them and there is no good reason for this, it is nearly certain that character waiver will be refused and the application declined.

If INZ approves your Residence application, but later discovers you provided false and misleading information or withheld material information as part of the Residence application, you can become liable for deportation under section 158 of the Immigration Act 2009. You can appeal your deportation liability either on the facts (i.e., INZ has its facts wrong) or on humanitarian grounds. But if the dishonesty is clearly established it is more likely that such appeals would fail – your deportation liability would probably be confirmed, a deportation order issued and you would be required to leave New Zealand with no chance of ever returning. Similar deportation liability exists under s 157 of the Immigration Act 2009 if your Temporary Visa is approved, but it is later discovered you provided false and misleading information or withheld material information as part of your Temporary Visa application.

Frequent mistakes

It is relevant to note that INZ may consider you have been false and misleading by simply not accurately answering a Yes/No question on an application form. Here at Laurent Law we have seen such situations, including where the applicant has relied on an Immigration Adviser or Lawyer to select the right answer for them. It is therefore very important to be accurate and upfront when answering questions on INZ application forms and to seek professional advice if you are unsure how to answer.

We have also seen situations where an applicant has been given false information in one Visa application, then told the truth in a later application, but still had that later application declined because of their earlier dishonesty. It is an example of how dishonesty at one stage of the process can come back to haunt an applicant later down the track.

Managing the problem

We recommend you seek professional help if you have a criminal conviction or a health condition which you are concerned may affect your Visa application. An experienced Adviser or Lawyer will let you know what is and is not possible. It may be that the criminal conviction or health condition is so bad that you cannot be approved a Visa. For example, if you have a murder conviction or present some sort of security threat, it is very unlikely you will get a Visa.

In some cases the character or health issue may be minor and therefore does not trigger any concern as long as it is properly declared – e.g., we usually advise applicants to declare any speeding or parking tickets they have.

Some examples of common types of criminal matters for which securing a character waiver may be possible include:

  • drink driving convictions;
  • low-end assault convictions;

Some examples of common types of health conditions for which securing a medical waiver may be possible include;

  • diabetes;
  • obesity.

For more information regarding Character and Medical waivers, see Simon Laurent’s video blogs here. At Laurent Law we regularly assist people with character and medical waivers. Please contact us if you think we can help.

This entry was posted in Citizenship, Immigration Appeals, Immigration Industry, Immigration Problems, Immigration Visas, Practice of Law. Bookmark the permalink.

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