Not easy to prove family relationship in partnership visas

Many holders of temporary visas in New Zealand often face difficulty in bringing their spouse into New Zealand to stay with them. Repeated applications and supporting documents generally fail to satisfy immigration officials regarding the relationship being “genuine” and “stable”.

New Zealand Immigration’s policy under WF instructions relating to applications by spouse of temporary visa holders state that the immigration officer must be satisfied that the relationship between the applicant and the sponsor is genuine and stable and sustainable for long term. Majority of applications under family (partnership) category are declined on the sole ground of “non-satisfaction by INZ about the genuineness, stability and long term sustainability of the relationship between the applicant and the sponsor.

Latest law change in Immigration says that Immigration Officers are not obliged to seek further information or evidence from the applicant unless there is any prejudicial information available with the Immigration Officer against the applicant or the sponsor. Keeping this policy change in mind, every applicant has now more responsibility to prove the relationship with the sponsor with supporting documents.

Many consultants or lawyers advise the applicant to submit proof of relationship between the parties, but what matters to the Immigration Officer are the overall surrounding circumstances revolving around the relationship.

If the sponsor had spent less than six months with the applicant and came to New Zealand, the Immigration officer may hold a view that the relationship is not stable, even though photographs of time spent together and booking receipts or travel tickets are provided to them. It is also very important that strong documentary evidence must be submitted to show the social acceptability of the relationship between the sponsor and the applicant.

It could be proof of attending family functions/events together or organising or participating in religious functions or ceremonies.

Another important aspect of proving relationship being genuine and strong is to maintain proper record and evidence of contact between the sponsor and applicant while they are living separately in different countries. Proof of emails, phone calls to and from mobile of each other and periodicity of such contact could be crucial to the decision maker.

Sometimes, during telephonic interviews by the Immigration Officers with the sponsor and the applicant, issues such as personal information regarding each other does not match on even minor aspects of “jointly living together”. For example, one Immigration Officer rejected the application of the spouse on the simple ground that during interview, the sponsor replied inconsistently to the query relating to how many times both husband and wife went for dinner together during their period of stay.

Or when asked from the sponsor wife as to what games the husband likes most, she replied cricket as most of the Indians love cricket, but the husband replied that he loves playing chess.

To sum up, I would say that even if strong documentary evidence had been submitted as proof of genuine and stable relationship, still it is not easy to satisfy Immigration Officer unless all aspects of a genuine, strong and stable relationship are proved by way of circumstantial evidence as well. Even though the consultants or lawyers advice the clients, but the applicants and the sponsor must keep this thing in mind before claiming their relationship as genuine and long term sustainable.