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Thread: Delayed SMC processing and few questions!

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2019
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    Default Delayed SMC processing and few questions!

    Hi ENZ family,

    My wife moved to New Zealand on student visa in September 2017 to pursue her PhD from AUT along with our 3 children aged (in 2017) 17, 11 and 4. Our children were granted dependent student visa. I was initially granted visitor visa being a serving military officer, however, in September 2018, once my wife was granted 2 years student visa extension, my visitor visa got converted to open work visa for the same duration (I was due to retire in October 2018). Meanwhile, our daughter who had already started her university degree as international student was granted independent student visa (as you all know that PhD candidate dependent children fall in domestic student category till high school). I moved to New Zealand in Nov 2018 to join my family, started a job in security company and ultimately submitted SMC ITA in July 2019 with a dream to get permanently settled in New Zealand. Unfortunately, almost stalled processing of SMC applications, unprecedentedly surged backlog of SMC applications and apparent INZ inability to handle this backlog or any intentional delays has pushed us into uncertain future in New Zealand.

    I kept supporting my family by sending money from Pakistan with a conversion rate $1=100 Pak rupee, paid 2 years international fee of my daughter ($35000 per yr), my wife 3 years fee and other expense / living cost etc has taken approx $ 250 k which is quite a bit of money and almost more than half of my entire life saving. My wife and daughter did not work as I wanted them to concentrate on their studies. I moved this money through regular banking channel.

    Now I am getting good salary, my daughter has started working 20 hrs a week and wife does some casual work too, still it's quite hard to meet our expenses in Auckland. My daughter next fee is due in Feb 2020, mean another $ 35 k if our application is not concluded by then, which I am increasingly unsure. To overcome my stress, I have started forward planning and need answer of my few queries:-

    1. Freezing next semester of my daughter. If we plan to get our daughter's next semester frozen to avoid paying international fee, is that an option? if yes, which visa cat will she be granted? As my whole family is in New Zealand, will she be allowed to stay with us or will be told to go back to Pakistan (we are concerned as her visa was delinked from dependent category once she joined university) and finally, if she is allowed to stay with us, will she be allowed to work in NZ or no work rights? Does INZ consider how much money we have spent from our own pocket so far or they are merciless in this regard?

    2. Change of Job. My ITA is submitted with my current job and 180 points. I am offered another job out of Auckland with very good package. Both jobs are in private security industry, same appointment / role just companies are different with changed location. As CO has not been allocated to me, so apparently job change with same role is not a problem but out of Auckland mean another 30 points, will it affect my already submitted ITA? I am considering to move out of Auckland to save some costs but I am so confused.

    3. December backlog. Just to put my own mind on ease, I am struggling to know, approx how many SMC applications were submitted in December 2018 which are sitting in the queue and are making big backlog? Under normal conditions, how many EOI are selected in each selection? If EOI selection is done TWICE a month with 400-600 successful applications mean approx 800-1000 applications a month? What is the capacity of INZ to handle no of applications in one month? Once INZ is able to deal with this backlog and things turn to normal, is there any chance that SMC applications processing time comes back to 4-6 months?

    4. My Military Background. Owing to my military service background, we have filled and submitted forms for National Security Check. Any one who is aware of military customs, shall understand that military service is rated very respectful service in asia and especially in Pakistan. With a family like mine, wife with PhD, son graduated from UK (sitting in Pakistan and waiting our residency to get through and join us), daughter with university degree in IT will make any positive impact on the application if we take a consideration of settlement prospects of a family/ what can they contribute in New Zealand or it has no effect? Why military service background is taken negative? if some one like I have completed military service with honor and retired after completing color service and given every detail / document of service to INZ including retirement order of Pakistan Military, is it still taken doubtful?

    5. Son not met family from last 2 years. Our son is back to Pakistan from England, tried to get student visa to further study in NZ and to be with his family but declined twice for failing to convince visa officer that he will be a bonafide student. He is now studying in Pakistan is dependent on me to be able to keep himself in the SMC application. He has not met his family for TWO years and is alone in Pakistan. He is included in SMC application, is there an option for him to visit us on a visit visa while SMC application is pending?

    We have another option to withdraw SMC application, I shall go back to Pakistan and do my business there, family to complete studies and join us back in Pakistan to avoid further stresses / uncertainties. If I am able to get answers to my questions, it may help me in taking some decision. I am sorry for the long post but so stressed.......

    Thank you all and stay blessed.
    Last edited by Tariq Shahzad; 13th October 2019 at 12:49 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
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    My sympathies for your state of uncertainty. You are not alone - there are so many people with their lives on hold in various ways because of the current uncertainties over what the NZ government are doing about migrations policies, and therefore, what INZ are allowed and expected to do. INZ is a huge bureaucracy operating to the rules they are given by the government of the day. They aren't allowed to take account of individuals' and families' emotions when working cases. Officials would go mad if they tried. EVERY case is someone's life-plan, with all their hopes and personal difficulties bound up in it.

    I can tell you my thoughts about your points above, but I'm afraid some of them are unanswerable - probably even if you were able to talk to someone within INZ, as they are having the goal posts changed by the politicians.

    1. I don't know. At your daughter's university, there will be a department responsible for overseas students, and the staff member(s) there will probably have more idea, because of their experience of hundreds of different cases and personal circumstances, of what might be possible. I suggest you and she should contact them.

    2. If you decide you would like to take the new job, liaise with INZ about getting a new visa (I expect that would be necessary, rather than a variation of conditions, because of the change of location). They are usually very good about managing the end of one visa and the start of a new one to coincide with a start-date that will manage your notice period on the old job and the new employer's readiness for you. The important thing is that you must be covered by a valid visa at all times, otherwise processing on your residence application would be stopped. Once you have the new visa and new job, you would need to inform INZ of everything about them, just as you did about the old job. You don't need to claim the possible extra 30 points. Points are only useful to get an application over the 160-point threshold for selection, so you don't need any extra ones now, and the more things claimed, the more things the CO will need to verify, making the case more complicated and taking longer.

    3. Accurate information is not publicly available. There is a lot of speculation among applicants waiting, including on this forum, and attempts to calculate, because people are aching to have some certainty and control, but we are NOT being told, and comments from various COs and INZ telephone-answerers have only confused things more by giving conflicting answers.

    4. I expect the official attitude to a past military career is very uncomfortable for you. This attitude arises from a determination not to allow into NZ anyone who has in the past had responsibility for unrest, breaches of human rights, or terrorism (A5.20 c here https://www.immigration.govt.nz/opsmanual/#35057.htm). Parts of some governments of some countries, unfortunately including Pakistan, have been suspected of fostering this kind of activity, so anyone who has served in the armed forces or other government department of these countries is investigated very thoroughly to make certain that personally, they have not been involved. It is not an open and normal, honourable, military career which is regarded with suspicion - that background is indeed an asset.

    5. It is very unlikely that your son would be granted a visitor's visa while the residence visa is pending. This is the same for everyone awaiting award of work or residence visas. It's because people trying to pre-empt the outcome of processing have commonly in the past entered "as a visitor", then have disappeared into the population of illegal overstayers, that now INZ will almost never grant visitor's visas for anyone with a different visa application pending. This isn't personal, or down to country of origin - it's entirely general.

    I would add, with your family's background of visas granted in the past, and your ITA lodged in the system, I think you are in more favourable place than many people. Good luck.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2019
    Location
    New Zealand
    Posts
    298

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    JandM,

    Huge respect to your way for taking out your time and responding my queries on SUNDAY. I felt relieved for a moment, but next movement I am again in same ship of uncertainties. Thank you so very much for giving me some leads which I shall try and explore.
    Best Regards

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2017
    Location
    New Zealand
    Posts
    92

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    I am less of an expert than JandM, but I was very impressed by your thorough question and wanted to give you a reply to help support you during this agonizing wait. (I remember it well, waiting was terrible.)

    Quote Originally Posted by Tariq Shahzad View Post
    submitted SMC ITA in July 2019
    With such a recent submission date, you may need to wait quite a while. Nobody knows for sure, but if you don't have a Case Officer assigned now, the chances it will be resolved before Semester I 2020 seem very remote, in my [unofficial] opinion.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tariq Shahzad View Post
    1. Freezing next semester of my daughter. If we plan to get our daughter's next semester frozen to avoid paying international fee, is that an option?
    I don't know about the visa situation. I agree with JandM that it's a good idea for her to check with the visa officers at her university, just in case. But they may not know either. If ending up in NZ is a high priority, your daughter could take a year's break, and then go back to university later as a domestic student. This, again, would be up to the university, but I would be surprised if one year were not allowed for a break.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tariq Shahzad View Post
    3. December backlog. Just to put my own mind on ease, I am struggling to know, approx how many SMC applications were submitted in December 2018 which are sitting in the queue and are making big backlog?
    I understand wanting to know, but I don't think that knowing the numbers will help. I was told processing would take 6-9 months. It took 19 months. But many other people got processed faster (like, everyone). There's no way to know what will happen with YOUR application, even if you have average times.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tariq Shahzad View Post
    4. My Military Background. if some one like I have completed military service with honor and retired after completing color service and given every detail / document of service to INZ including retirement order of Pakistan Military, is it still taken doubtful?
    The National Security Check (NSC) is a big black box. No one really knows how or why it is done. I and my partner are both citizens of 5-eye countries (NZ, Aus, Can, UK, USA), neither of us have lived outside those countries in the past 10 years. Neither of us have any military or intelligence ties whatsoever. These three factors qualify us for security clearances for NZ government jobs. Yet both of us were required to undergo NSC. Who knows why. Military service is seen quite differently in different countries. You will almost certainly have to undergo an NSC, but what that means for your application, well, I doubt really anyone could say.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tariq Shahzad View Post
    5. Son not met family from last 2 years. Our son is back to Pakistan from England, tried to get student visa to further study in NZ and to be with his family but declined twice for failing to convince visa officer that he will be a bonafide student. He is included in SMC application, is there an option for him to visit us on a visit visa while SMC application is pending?
    JandM commented on this. I want to add this is not unusual. In the USA, for example, if you have applied for a Green Card (residence class visa) even in the past 5 years (sometimes up to 10 years) you will not be granted a tourist visa. Why? Because you have already demonstrated that you have an interest in immigrating, therefore, your interest in staying for a short period of time can be easily questioned, because you have already proven that you want to immigrate by applying for an immigrant visa. The US is not the only country to do this.

    In NZ, the fact that he is waiting for a decision on residency may be considered proof that he is not intending to exclusively study. In several countries I know, a temporary visa will not be granted to people who have proven they wish to stay forever (indefinitely) by applying for a residence-class visa.

    There are so many variables to your application, and each one makes understanding the possibilities more difficult. There are clearly ways to cut expenses (stop paying international uni fees), but there is no guarantee. It is clear you are trying to do the best you can for your family. They are fortunate that you are such a good planner. Good luck.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2019
    Location
    New Zealand
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    298

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    Hi Gaida,
    I am humbled by your last line, the kind words you wrote for me ! Believe me, all soldiers across the globe are equally caring. We spend half of our lives living away from families , therefore, probably develop more strong bondage.

    I am carefully assessing and weighing every available option including moving back to my country after the completion of studies of my wife and daughter (wife in last year of her PhD and daughter will start last year of her bachelors degree in Feb/ March 2020). I am just worried for my son, he is alone and misses all of us so desperately... we are humans 😔

    Let me thank you once again for taking out your time and assessment. 🙏

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