A licensed Immigration Adviser is alleging “racial bias” by Immigration New Zealand as one of her client’s partnership visa application gets declined. 

Rasel Hossain who was in the country since the last three-and-a-half years and was on an open work visa had filed a partnership-based visitor visa application for his newly wed wife in November last year. 

The application was initially submitted in INZ’s Mumbai office was recently transferred to Hamilton office where it was subsequently rejected. 

However, it’s not the outcome of the application, that the Immigration Adviser is worried about but the callous or even premeditated decision-making in the assessment of the application suggesting bigger malaise within INZ.

Inderjit Matharu  of Angel Immigration told The Indian Weekender, “The INZ case officer had sent a letter to my client on June 26 asking for additional supporting documents for his wife’s partnership-based visitor visa,” Ms Matharu said. 

“We had provided all documents by July 3 and were waiting eagerly for a favourable outcome.

“To my client’s frustration, the visa application was declined with INZ uploading a decline-letter online on July 5.

“However, it was baffling to see that the decline letter had a date written of June 26 – the date when the case officer had first asked for additional information from my client.

“This clearly suggests that they had already made up their mind to decline the application, regardless of seeing any fresh information,” Ms Matharu said. 

Rasel, who had first arrived in NZ on a student visa to study Level-7 Business course in February 2016 had been on an open work visa. 

He had travelled back home to get married in August 2018, before filing for her newlywed wife’s partnership-based visitor visa on November 26, 2018. 

After almost six months of waiting, the case was transferred onshore to the Hamilton office when a case officer first got in touch with him on June 26, 2019, seeking additional information in support of the application. 

“I was really excited when the letter came from the case officer asking for more information as it ensured that my wife’s file had finally moved [in the queue] reaching to a stage when someone was actually assessing the application,” Mr Hosain said. 

“However, it was really frustrating to know that the case officer had already made up their mind to reject the application that day itself when they had actually asked us to provide more information,” an exasperated Mr Hossain said. 

“I am not sure if there was a racial bias involved or not, but it was definitely pre-decided,” Mr Hossain said. 

He was bewildered by INZ’s assertion that they believed that he and his newlywed wife were not living together in a genuine and stable relationship. 

“Your supporting partner’s travel history suggests that he visited you from August 16, 2018, to September 28, 2018, and again from March 13 to April 14, 2019, however, no evidence has been provided to demonstrate that you and your partner have lived together during the two periods of time,” the letter from the case officer to the client said, which her husband Rasel Hossain is struggling to understand. 

“I work full time in New Zealand as an Assistant Manager, and we are generally eligible to get only four weeks of leave from work. 

“However, despite this, I had managed to visit my wife on two occasions for one month each,” Mr Hossain said. 

“If this is not enough, I am not sure what else INZ expects from someone who is on a legitimate work visa and working full time in NZ,” Mr Hossain asked exasperatingly. 

Meanwhile, Immigration Adviser Ms Matharu was less worried about many details around declining of partnership visa, but more concerned if there was any bigger malaise within INZ targeting people based on ethnicity or race. 

It is important to note that Immigration New Zealand had already come under a scanner earlier this year for using racial profiling as a way of ranking the risk visa applicants may pose to the country. 

According to a report appearing in www.rnz.co.nz, in a briefing document on student visas, nine nationalities were blanked out in a table showing the numbers of high, medium and low-risk applications.

Many Immigration advisers and lawyers had then argued that such a racial profiling had been happening for quite some time – a charge that INZ had then refuted. 

Of major concern were the applications emanating from the Indian market, which according to many experts were being queued, as applications initially assessed as low risk were being prioritised, while the rest were to be dealt with once the others were processed.

INZ has been approached for comment at the time of the story going live and they were working to prepare a response.