Reasons for visa denials will remain undisclosed
Immigration officers hide the reasons that discretionary visas are refused out of fear they could face legal action.
Section 61 of the Immigration Act gives officers the chance to grant some visas in special cases, reports the website stuff.co.nz. The provision allows officers absolute discretion for cases including if someone has accidentally overstayed or has made a mistake on their immigration documents.
Last year the section was reviewed and an internal circular to staff said that the reasons for the decision must not be recorded, revealed correspondence between officials which was released under the Official Information Act.
It said that the officials feel that adding the rationale paves the way for judicial review complaints to the Ombudsman. Including rationales could also create more work and lead to more complaints. However, some staff are unhappy about removing rationale. One said that Visa Services are not comfortable dropping it entirely. He added that if everyone wanted it to disappear, he would remove it, but he is not sure they should go in this direction now.
Labour's immigration spokeswoman Darien Fenton said that decisions made under section 61 can not be appealed, but that people do have the right to contact the Ombudsman with a complaint.
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