- The appellant, a Tongan citizen, applied for residence in NZ but was declined by INZ.
- INZ's decision was based on the lack of support from an eligible partner and doubts about the relationship's genuineness and stability.
- The Tribunal confirmed INZ's decision, citing family violence, infidelity, and withdrawal of spousal support as concerns.
The appellant, a 48-year-old Tongan citizen, first visited New Zealand in 2007 and met his current wife, a Tongan-born New Zealand citizen, in 2008. They commenced a relationship and began living together in January 2009. After obtaining divorces from their respective spouses, they married on 15 December 2011. The appellant made several trips to Tonga during his stay in New Zealand.
Prior to Appeal
The appellant applied for residence under the Family (Partnership) category on 24 January 2017. The application included various supporting documents, like photographs, letters from friends, family, and his employer, and a letter of support from his wife. During the application's verification, Immigration New Zealand (INZ) discovered records of family violence episodes involving the couple and the appellant's drink-driving conviction. The wife initially supported the application but withdrew her support twice during the process, once in October 2017 and again in January 2019.
Immigration New Zealand Assessment
INZ raised concerns about the genuine and stable nature of the appellant's partnership, given the wife's withdrawal of support and the documented family violence episodes. The appellant and his wife were interviewed separately, where the wife expressed her trust issues due to the appellant's affair and the impact of alcohol on their relationship. The appellant downplayed the seriousness of these issues in his response to INZ.
Immigration New Zealand Decision
On 11 March 2019, INZ declined the appellant’s application. The decision was based on the absence of support from an eligible New Zealand partner and doubts about the genuineness and stability of the couple's partnership. INZ found the appellant's responses insufficient to prove the relationship's stability and genuineness.
The Tribunal acknowledged the couple's long-term relationship and efforts to address their issues. However, it found that the appellant's application lacked support from an eligible partner at the time of the decision and that the relationship issues, including family violence and infidelity, raised legitimate concerns about its stability.
The Tribunal did not find any special circumstances in the appellant's case that would warrant consideration by the Minister of Immigration as an exception to the residence instructions.
The Tribunal confirmed INZ's decision to decline the appellant's application, citing the correctness of the decision in terms of the applicable residence instructions. It concluded that the appellant did not have special circumstances warranting further consideration.