Priority procedures put in place for urgent immigration applications
Immigration New Zealand is looking at ways to prioritise immigration cases after Dame Beverly Wakem, Chief Ombudsman, ruled that the department had delayed a residency application for an unreasonably long period of time.
In January 2009 an application was received by the agency from a man who had fled with his family from his home country to a Kenyan refugee camp. He applied under the sibling category as he already has a sister in New Zealand. Although grave concerns over the safety of the applicant have been stated he was told by INZ that there were other applicants in similar situations.
In July 2010 MP Christopher Finlayson wrote a letter to INZ pointing out that the applicant was still living in the refugee camp and that a job offer was being held open for him in New Zealand.
It was only in September 2010 that a case officer was assigned. Dame Wakem said she had received a complaint in July 2012, more than three years after the application was first made. She added that it was her opinion that the Immigration department had failed to act quickly enough and had also failed to appreciate humanitarian factors that should have put the case to the top of the pile.
Marc Piercey, Immigration spokesman, said although there were provisions already in place for prioritising urgent cases these processes would be tightened up.
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