Immigration Service agrees to make applicants aware of need to renew permits in good time

Ombudsmen Act 1975
Related legislation:
Immigration Act 1987
Legislation display text:
Ombudsmen Act 1975; Immigration Act 1987
Hon Anand Satyanand
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Delay in making decisions on applications for further temporary permits—effect of delay on applicant—no unreasonable delay by NZIS—applicants to be informed of need to apply for further permits in good time

A complaint was made that in three different cases applications for further visitor’s permits had been made before the expiry of the current permits held by the applicants, but that decisions to decline the applications had not been made by the New Zealand Immigration Service (NZIS) until after the permits held had expired. This resulted in the applicants being in New Zealand unlawfully with no right under the Immigration Act 1987 to request reconsideration of the decisions.

The NZIS noted that section 4(3) of the Act provides that the fact that an application for a permit has been made by any person does not render that person’s presence in New Zealand lawful, or give that person a right to remain in New Zealand or be granted any other permit while the application is being considered. The NZIS submitted that the onus is on an applicant to apply for a further permit in sufficient time to enable a decision to be made on the application before expiry of the person’s current permit. The NZIS policy is that 95% of visitor permit applications will be decided within 15 working days and the three applications in question had all been decided either close to or within that time.

The view was formed that the time taken by the NZIS to reach decisions on the applications was not unreasonable. In none of the three cases were the applications lodged 15 working days before expiry of the current permits, and in two of the cases decisions on the applications had been made within 15 working days. A decision on the third application had been made in 21 working days, but in the circumstances this did not appear to be an unreasonable length of time, given that the NZIS had found it necessary to seek further information before making a decision on the application. In the circumstances, the complaint was not sustained.


It was suggested to the NZIS that it would be good administrative practice to take steps to make applicants aware of the need to apply for further temporary permits in good time, to ensure that a decision could be made well before the expiry of the current permits. The NZIS agreed to take such action by including a note to that effect on temporary entry forms and leaflets.

This case note is published under the authority of the Ombudsmen Rules 1989. It sets out an Ombudsman’s view on the facts of a particular case. It should not be taken as establishing any legal precedent that would bind an Ombudsman in future.

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