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Thread: Please help: INZ Complaint Process - Partnership Work and Resident Visa

  1. #1
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    Default Please help: INZ Complaint Process - Partnership Work and Resident Visa

    Hi team, I have somehow landed in quite a sticky situation, and any help/advice would be much appreciated.

    I am a Malaysian currently living in New Zealand, I came 9 years ago on a student visa and got a double degree (which took 6 years). During which I met my partner, we have been together for 5 years and been living together since July 2016. After graduation, I have been on a post study work visa for 3 years, 1 year open, and 2 years employer assisted.

    As my post study work visa was expiring on 13 February, and I intend to stay in New Zealand, I applied for the Partner of a NZer Work visa along with the Partner of a NZer Resident Visa. Due to the fact that my Post Study Work Visa was expiring soon, I was advised to go for both work and resident visa. On 9 January 2018, I spoke to an officer in the contact centre who advised me that I only had to hand in ONE set of supporting evidence for both the applications, as the requirements are pretty similar.

    I handed in my applications on 17 January 2018, and soon after money was deducted for the Resident Application. And I was informed that they will be posting some documents back to me. But there were no news on the work visa whatsoever. The courier package did not arrive for a long time, and so on 13 February I rang INZ and after some long hold times and the officer calling several other people they found a tracking number for me. Upon speaking to NZ Courier, turns out INZ had entered the wrong phone number so the courier company was unable to contact me for the delivery. They also said that the work visa application had been lodged but not yet accepted for processing.

    After the delivery drama, when I finally opened the package I received, turns out INZ had also returned my Work Visa application, (which has lodgement stamp on the actual form). Confused and worried (as my visa had since expired but I was told by INZ to stay put and wait for an interim visa), I rang INZ again.

    INZ confirmed that they have sent the form for the Work Visa to me in error, so I had then sent it back to INZ. At this stage, I was on the verge of a nervous breakdown. as it had been one entire month, and they had obviously misplaced my application for the Work Visa the entire time!

    The work visa form was returned to INZ on 16 February. So I rang them today to check up on the document, at which I was advised that it takes them 7 days to record that they have received the document - I know for sure that the document was delivered from the tracking number. I was also advised that it is INCORRECT that I only have to hand in 1 set of evidence. and that I should send in another lot of evidence.

    I am beyond myself at this stage. I have had multiple phone calls with INZ, and their advice so far had been misleading, unclear and confusing. Has anyone been through the complaint process? Or is that an avenue worth trying at all?
    Last edited by eeeeva; 21st February 2018 at 10:02 PM.

  2. #2
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    So sorry for what happened with you.
    Its true the INZ contact center gives very wrong information and the info contradicts from one agent to another

    I too was given wrong information and due to which I had no legal status in NZ for 20 days, and I was forced to apply for a work visa under section 61. ( I think this is what is delaying my current visa applications)
    I atleast got a written confirmation that the muck up was from Immigration NZ.

    Don't know if lodging a complaint would do any good.

  3. #3
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    Sorry to say, it is well known that a person can phone INZ three times on the same day with the same query and get three different answers. The telephone answerers are just a human FAQ system working from a database, and as you will know, what anyone finds on a computer depends on how they search, how good they are at interpreting what is relevant, etc., etc..

    You've been SO unlucky with this build-up of errors from different people all around. In your place, I would definitely "provide feedback" https://www.immigration.govt.nz/contact/complaints, telling them exactly what you have said here (with all the details, of course). That way, you will draw the attention of the branch manager(s) to your situation, and it is likely your case will then be carefully monitored through the system from here on.

    When someone is applying for two visas which need the same evidence, obviously, it cannot physically go to two places at the same time, so what people normally do, to make life the easiest possible for the second CO, is supply copies, and state, 'Originals are with my application for x visa to y branch of INZ,' giving all possible details of yourself and date of application, so they can link through to check if needed, but they can see the evidence on their desk, which is easier than trying to call it up on the computer.

  4. #4
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    What did INZ did to remedy the situation though? I am more concerned now that my work visa has expired I cannot work, and I have been told by my employer that they can't keep the position open for me for too long. Seems like due to the muck up, my application is getting delayed quite a bit. I wonder if they would expedite my application on the grounds of the error, because if it is only going to be placed at the end of the queue again, I would most likely lose my job.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by JandM View Post
    Sorry to say, it is well known that a person can phone INZ three times on the same day with the same query and get three different answers. The telephone answerers are just a human FAQ system working from a database, and as you will know, what anyone finds on a computer depends on how they search, how good they are at interpreting what is relevant, etc., etc..

    You've been SO unlucky with this build-up of errors from different people all around. In your place, I would definitely "provide feedback" https://www.immigration.govt.nz/contact/complaints, telling them exactly what you have said here (with all the details, of course). That way, you will draw the attention of the branch manager(s) to your situation, and it is likely your case will then be carefully monitored through the system from here on.

    When someone is applying for two visas which need the same evidence, obviously, it cannot physically go to two places at the same time, so what people normally do, to make life the easiest possible for the second CO, is supply copies, and state, 'Originals are with my application for x visa to y branch of INZ,' giving all possible details of yourself and date of application, so they can link through to check if needed, but they can see the evidence on their desk, which is easier than trying to call it up on the computer.
    Thank you for the reply... I will definitely be putting through a complaint on the website then... Just wondering if anyone had any experience with the complaint process? Will there be a branch manager that take ownership for the situation? Or just another note added on the account.

    I did provide a cover letter with the application stating that I was advised to only supply one set of evidence. But as they were handed in at the same time, I did not know which branch the Resident Visa is being handled at so could not provide any more specifics.

    The officer today told me to send another set of evidence to accompany the Work Visa application (which has already been sent in), but seeing that all my originals are already with my resident visa, I worry that the officer who receive the package will have a look at it and just reject my application without any consideration. Which could just jeopardize my resident visa as well...

  6. #6
    Join Date
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    You can't tell what INZ will do to put things right unless you put in the complaint. Tell them all that that you are saying here on the thread. You are righteously indignant, and you need to express that to the people concerned. All of us here are just members of the public - we can sympathise and tell you you are right and have been hard done by, but WE can't do anything about it, whereas INZ can. There has been a case mentioned on the threads just recently where somebody messed up processing (in a different way from your case), but after the applicant raised the issue by this "feedback" i.e. complaint procedure, things got put through very quickly by jumping a whole piece of normal procedure. https://www.enz.org/forum/showthread.php?t=54398 It is really worth complaining when you have good cause.

    Edited to say, we must have been writing our last posts at the same time.

  7. #7
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    Thank you JandM. I will do that and update on here so if anyone run into a situation like this will have some reference in the future.

  8. #8
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    In the last few months INZ has made a lot of changes and they are in the midst of closing down and consolidating the branches in NZ and overseas. They recently changed the courier service as well. So a lot of mistakes and lost documents as well. Make sure you keep copies of documents you sent and keep track of your couriers.

  9. #9
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    Okay guys, this is just for future reference, I have placed a complaint through the INZ online feedback page, here's what I wrote:

    Referring to the subject above, I write this letter to request for assistance and review over the application process for my Partner of a New Zealander Work Visa application.
    .... I am currently applying for both a Partner of a New Zealand Work Visa as well as a Partner of a New Zealander Resident Visa. To summarise, below is the timeline related to the events relevant to this letter:

    12/02/2009 - I arrived in New Zealand on a student visa to study in University of XXX.

    05/05/2012 - Partner* and I began dating.

    02/07/2016 - Partner* moved in to Address*- my parent’s property and began living with me.

    19/05/2017 - Partner* and I relocated to Auckland together for my new role at XXX Limited.

    09/01/2018 - I spoke to an immigration officer named Zoe from the INZ contact centre and was advised that I only have to hand in ONE set of evidence for both a Partner of a New Zealander Work Visa and Partner of a New Zealander Resident Visa, as the evidences required are essentially the same.

    17/01/2018 - I tended in two applications, one for Partner of a New Zealander Work Visa and another for Partner of a New Zealander Resident Visa, with one copy of supporting evidence as advised. Along with the applications was a cover letter stating the reason of my application, some clarifying points over our living arrangement, and that we have been advised to hand in one copy of evidence.

    30/01/2018 - I rang and spoke to immigration officer Lucy, who advised that I will be given an interim visa if my Post Study Work Visa (Employer Assisted) expires as I have applied for a Work Visa. No updates on the applications were advised. Only that there is a backlog in INZ processing centres.

    31/01/2018 - Received email from Support Officer Julia Iakopo-Tuipe’a requesting for my partner Nathan to complete a field missed out in the Residence Visa Support Form, and email it back to her. She also advised that the original form will be returned to me by courier. No other information provided about any other documents being sent back to me.

    01/02/2018 - Partner* filled out the missing information on the Residence Visa Support Form and we scanned it and emailed it back to Support Officer Julia Iakopo-Tuipe’a. In the email we also included some enquiry about sending the physical copy of them form, but never received any replies.

    05/02/2018 - Application fees were deducted for my Resident Visa application.

    07/02/2018 - I rang and spoke immigration officer Kamia and was advised that there is no update on my Work Visa application, even though my Resident Visa application had been accepted.

    09/02/2018 - I rang and spoke to immigration officer Tracy to confirm that 12 February 2018 is the last day I am entitled to work. I was also advised that there were no updates on my Work Visa Application. I was also advised that I will not get an interim visa until my Work Visa is accepted, and that my immigration status would become unlawful. However, she also advised that I should just wait for my work visa to be accepted and not make any arrangement to leave the country.

    12/02/2018 - My Post Study Work Visa (employer assisted) expired.

    12/02/2018 - I rang and spoke to immigration officer Amelia to enquire for an update on my work visa, and was advised that there was no news just yet. I also enquired whether there were any package that was sent to me, as I have not received any communication after the email from Support Officer Julia Iakopo-Tuipe’a. I was placed on hold for a few minutes and then given a tracking number. I was also advised that after that day, my immigration status would be unlawful, however, I do not need to leave the country, because an interim visa would be backdated once my work visa is accepted for processing. No reasons were given for the delay in the acceptance of my work visa application, except that there is a backlog from the Christmas holidays.

    13/02/2018 - I rang Courier Post first thing in the morning but was advised the tracking number was incorrect.

    13/02/2018 - I rang and spoke to an unnamed immigration officer and was advised to ring NZ Courier to track down the package.

    13/02/2018 - I rang NZ Courier and enquired about the missing parcel, and was advised that the courier delivery staff was unable to deliver the item and that they have tried ringing the contact number on the parcel, however the number was incorrect. Upon checking, the telephone number on the parcel was one digit short of my contact number. NZ Courier advised that that was an error on the sender’s (INZ’s) part. However, committed to delivering the package to me during the same day.

    13/02/2018 - I received the package and found that the package included my passport, birth certificate, several original copies (but not all) of the supporting documents, some pages of my Resident Visa application form, Support form for my Resident Visa with fields marked out for completion, and a copy of my Work Visa Application Form, and Work Visa Support Form. The cover letter dated 5 February stated that these forms needs to be returned to INZ by 7 February 2018. There was no mention or instruction on my Work Visa Application form in the cover letter.

    14/02/2018 - Partner and I completed the required fields for the Resident Visa application forms and sent the Resident Visa application forms as well as the Work Visa application forms to INZ with a cover letter explaining the reason of the delay in reply, the package was sent by overnight courier to the INZ Penrose address.

    19/02/2018 - I rang and spoke to officer Debra Hale to enquire about why my Work Visa Application was returned to me. After the ordeal of the missing package, I was anxious whether the Work Visa application should be in the package at all, and whether it was actually meant to be returned to me. I was worried that the INZ might have actually misplaced the Work Visa Application Forms, thus explaining the huge delay in the Work Visa application being accepted for processing. She was unable to provide me with an answer, so she advised me that she will raise this to a technical advisor and call me back before she leaves work at 6pm. She also seemed to be surprised that I have chose to stay in the country since my visa had expired. I had to explain to her that I was actually advised by INZ officers that I do not have to leave the country even though my status has become unlawful. At which she advised that it is incorrect. However, she did not provide me with any further information, but advise me that she will speak to a senior officer and ring me back.

    20/02/2018 - I rang and spoke to immigration officer Hajra, to follow up on my query to officer Debra Hale, because I have not receive any call backs as promised. I was advised that there has not been any updates from the technical officer, and that officer Debra will ring me back the next day.

    21/02/2018 - I rang and spoke to immigration officer Liz and was advised that the advice from officer Zoe (dated 09/01/2018) was incorrect, and that I should send in another set of supporting evidence for my Work Visa application. The illusive Technical Advisor has not yet replied. However I was told that I can stay in the country despite the fact that my visa had expired because I have handed in a new application for a work visa well before the expiry date. Liz also confirmed that it was indeed an error in INZ’s process and that the work visa application forms should not have been sent back to me. She also said that while the document have been delivered to the Penrose documentation centre, it takes up to 7 days for the centre to mark the package as received. I have also alluded to the fact that this entire delay and error in the way INZ is handling my application had put me out of work, and could cause me the loss of my current employment. I requested for this issue to be escalated to a senior officer. She replied that there were nothing she could do and that she had left notes on account, other officers would be able to see them. She recommended that I should send in another stack of evidence showing that Partner* and I have been living together, to which I explained to her that most of the originals are already attached in the resident visa application, so I would not be able to even make copies of those. I asked if I could request for the documents to be sent back, to which she replied it could take up to 25 working days for INZ to send a photocopy of those originals back.

    At this stage, I have to say that I am confused, frustrated, and desperate for some clarity in this situation. From day one, Partner* and I had done our very best to ensure that we are prepared and collected information from the official sources - the INZ Contact Centre and website for the application process. However, every touchpoint with INZ so far had only provided us with either no helpful information, some misleading information and in many cases contradicting information.

    ...continued below...
    Last edited by eeeeva; 22nd February 2018 at 12:17 PM.

  10. #10
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    Here are some areas which had been our pain points in this entire process:
    On the INZ website, the expected processing time for a Partnership Work Visa is 25 working days. Partner* and I soon discovered that that information is highly inaccurate, and at this current period, could be up to 4 months. Whilst the resident visa could take up to 9 months, instead of the stated 4 months on the website. We have raised to INZ to update the website, to which we are told that INZ is working on it, but no further action was taken.
    The amount of misleading and contradicting information provided by the INZ contact centre had been appalling. On different occasions, I was advised different things, whether one or two sets of supporting documents were required, or whether I could stay in the country after my visa had expired in the case where I have already lodge an application for another work visa. These are all very crucial to the success of my application and my future status to remain in this country, and it seems like the advice had been provided at a whim without much consequences.
    Partner* and I both found it highly unreasonable that the interim visa would not allow me to work, even though I was on a work visa, and am applying for another work visa. To place someone of my similar situation - someone who is currently employed under an ongoing, completely legal and legitimate arrangement - on hold for months, due to INZ workload backlog and negligent handling of my application, would mean that the employer would be short of staff, and might have to replace the employee due to unable to business needs. This places the applicant in a very stressful situation, and financial strain on the supporting partner to become the sole income earner.
    The lack of transparency in the progress of the application. None of the nine officers whom I have spoken to after tending in my application had provided me any useful information on the progress of my visa application, other than the application had been lodged but not yet accepted for processing. This is after more than one month since the application was sent in. No reason was provided for the delay, and no further information had been requested. I have enquired at so many stages about my work visa application progress, but was never given a satisfactory answer, then only to find that INZ had misplaced my application form all along is simply disheartening.
    The lack of communication and error in process of my application. We were never given a tracking number or told when the package was sent or advised of the content of the package which was sent to us. I was surprised to find that the original copy of my passport and birth certificate had been sitting in a courier depot, in a parcel marked with a wrong contact phone number, and marked undeliverable for an entire week. For all that I knew, I was expecting a couple sheets of forms to be filled in. I was shocked with the lack of communication and care in handling my most important original valid identification documents.
    So far, every immigration officer that I have spoken to had refuse to take ownership, and failed to advise me despite my expressed and clear questioning. In dire times, I have requested to speak to higher authority or escalate this complex situation, but I never receive the call back which was promised, and was told that there will be “notes left in here”, but no further action required.

    This experience dealing with INZ had left both my partner and I in unmeasurable distress and anxiety. We hope that this last call for help had not fallen on deaf ears. It has now been more than a month since our initial application, and to hear that due to an error which we are not responsible for, this application could be placed at the end of the queue, and likely rejected due to only submitting one set of evidence had left us desperate. As far as I understand, the rejection of the work visa application would render my immigration status unlawful, so I will have to leave the country immediately, and that my resident visa application would be render invalid. As two young graduates, both our careers and joint future are very much on the line.

    In good faith, Partner* and I are putting our final petition for you to please consider our situation and deal with this unfavourable situation in kindness and professionalism. If there are any details that are missing or ambiguous, please do not hesitate to contact us for clarification. We look forward to hearing back from you.

    Many thanks for your patience in reading this long letter.

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